The Element.matches() method returns true if the element would be selected by the specified selector string; otherwise, returns false.

Internet Explorer implements this, prefixed, under the non-standard name msMatchesSelector().


var result = element.matches(selectorString); 
  • result holds the return value true or false.
  • selectorString is a string representing the selector to test.


<ul id="birds">
  <li>Orange-winged parrot</li>
  <li class="endangered">Philippine eagle</li>
  <li>Great white pelican</li>

<script type="text/javascript">
  var birds = document.getElementsByTagName('li');

  for (var i = 0; i < birds.length; i++) {
    if (birds[i].matches('.endangered')) {
      console.log('The ' + birds[i].textContent + ' is endangered!');

This will log "The Philippine eagle is endangered!" to the console, since the element has indeed a class attribute with value endangered.


The specified selector string is invalid.


For browsers that do not support Element.matches() or Element.matchesSelector(), but carry support for document.querySelectorAll(), a polyfill exists:

if (!Element.prototype.matches) {
    Element.prototype.matches = 
        Element.prototype.matchesSelector || 
        Element.prototype.mozMatchesSelector ||
        Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector || 
        Element.prototype.oMatchesSelector || 
        Element.prototype.webkitMatchesSelector ||
        function(s) {
            var matches = (this.document || this.ownerDocument).querySelectorAll(s),
                i = matches.length;
            while (--i >= 0 && matches.item(i) !== this) {}
            return i > -1;            

However, given the practicality of supporting older browsers, the following should suffice for most (if not all) practical cases (i.e. IE9+ support).

if (!Element.prototype.matches) {
    Element.prototype.matches = Element.prototype.msMatchesSelector;


Specification Status Comment
The definition of 'Element.prototype.matches' 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 (WebKit)
Original support with a non-standard name


(Yes) 3.6 (1.9.2)[2] 9.0[3] 11.5[4]
Specified version 34 (Yes) 34 (34) No 21.0 7.1
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Original support with a non-standard name ? (Yes) 1.0 (1.9.2)[2] ? ? ?
Specified version ? (Yes) 34.0 (34) ? ? 8

[1] This feature was implemented with the non-standard name webkitMatchesSelector.

[2] This feature was implemented with the non-standard name mozMatchesSelector. Prior to Gecko 2.0, invalid selector strings caused false to be returned instead of throwing an exception.

[3] This feature was implemented with the non-standard name msMatchesSelector.

[4] This feature was implemented with the non-standard name oMatchesSelector.

See also

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 Last updated by: coolaj86,