The closest() method of the Element interface traverses the element and its parents (heading toward the document root) until it finds a node that matches the specified CSS selector.





A string of valid CSS selector to match the Element and its ancestors against.

Return value

The closest ancestor Element or itself, which matches the selectors. If there are no such element, null.


SyntaxError DOMException

Thrown if the selectors is not a valid CSS selector.



  <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>


const el = document.getElementById('div-03');

// the closest ancestor with the id of "div-02"
console.log(el.closest('#div-02')); // <div id="div-02">

// the closest ancestor which is a div in a div
console.log(el.closest('div div')); // <div id="div-03">

// the closest ancestor which is a div and has a parent article
console.log(el.closest("article > div")); // <div id="div-01">

// the closest ancestor which is not a div
console.log(el.closest(":not(div)")); // <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;

    do {
      if (Element.prototype.matches.call(el, 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;


DOM Standard
# ref-for-dom-element-closest①

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

Compatibility notes

  • In Edge 15-18 document.createElement(tagName).closest(tagName) will return null if the element is not first connected (directly or indirectly) to the context object, for example the Document object in the case of the normal DOM.

See also