The Element.closest() method returns the closest ancestor of the current element (or the current element itself) which matches the selectors given in parameter. If there isn't such an ancestor, it returns null.


var elt = element.closest(selectors); 


  • selectors is a DOMString containing a selector list like "p:hover, .toto + q"
  • element is the Element at the top of the tree of elements to be dealt with.

Result value

  • elt is the Element which is the closest ancestor of the selected elements. It may be null.


  • SyntaxError is thrown if the selectors is not a valid selector list string.


  <div id="div-01">Here is div-01
    <div id="div-02">Here is div-02
      <div id="div-03">Here is div-03</div>
var el = document.getElementById('div-03');

var r1 = el.closest("#div-02");  
// returns the element with the id=div-02

var r2 = el.closest("div div");  
// returns the closest ancestor which is a div in div, here is div-03 itself

var r3 = el.closest("article > div");  
// returns the closest ancestor which is a div and has a parent article, here is div-01

var r4 = el.closest(":not(div)");
// returns the closest ancestor which is not a div, here is the outmost article


For browsers that do not support Element.closest(), but carry support for element.matches() (or a prefixed equivalent, meaning IE9+), a polyfill exists:

if (!Element.prototype.matches)
    Element.prototype.matches = Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector || 

if (!Element.prototype.closest)
    Element.prototype.closest = function(s) {
        var el = this;
        if (!document.documentElement.contains(el)) return null;
        do {
            if (el.matches(s)) return el;
            el = el.parentElement || el.parentNode;
        } while (el !== null && el.nodeType === 1); 
        return null;

However, if you really do require IE 8 support, then the following polyfill will do the job very slowly, but eventually. However, it will only support CSS 2.1 selectors in IE 8, and it can cause severe lag spikes in production websites.

if (window.Element && !Element.prototype.closest) {
    Element.prototype.closest = 
    function(s) {
        var matches = (this.document || this.ownerDocument).querySelectorAll(s),
            el = this;
        do {
            i = matches.length;
            while (--i >= 0 && matches.item(i) !== el) {};
        } while ((i < 0) && (el = el.parentElement)); 
        return el;


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'Element.closest()' in that specification.
Living Standard Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

We're converting our compatibility data into a machine-readable JSON format. This compatibility table still uses the old format, because we haven't yet converted the data it contains. Find out how you can help!

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 41 15 35.0 (35.0) No support 28 9
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? ? 35.0 (35.0) No support ? 9.0

See also

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 Last updated by: nick-ChenZe,