Logical operators are typically used with Boolean (logical) values. When they are, they return a Boolean value. However, the && and || operators actually return the value of one of the specified operands, so if these operators are used with non-Boolean values, they may return a non-Boolean value.

Description

The logical operators are described in the following table:

Operator Usage Description
Logical AND (&&) expr1 && expr2 Returns expr1 if it can be converted to false; otherwise, returns expr2. Thus, when used with Boolean values, && returns true if both operands are true; otherwise, returns false.
Logical OR (||) expr1 || expr2 Returns expr1 if it can be converted to true; otherwise, returns expr2. Thus, when used with Boolean values, || returns true if either operand is true; if both are false, returns false.
Logical NOT (!) !expr Returns false if its single operand can be converted to true; otherwise, returns true.

Examples of expressions that can be converted to false are those that evaluate to null, 0, the empty string (""), or undefined.

Even though the && and || operators can be used with operands that are not Boolean values, they can still be considered Boolean operators since their return values can always be converted to Boolean values.

Short-Circuit Evaluation

As logical expressions are evaluated left to right, they are tested for possible "short-circuit" evaluation using the following rules:

  • false && (anything) is short-circuit evaluated to false.
  • true || (anything) is short-circuit evaluated to true.

The rules of logic guarantee that these evaluations are always correct. Note that the anything part of the above expressions is not evaluated, so any side effects of doing so do not take effect. Also note that the anything part of the above expression is any single logical expression (as indicated by the parentheses).

For example, the following two functions are equivalent.

function shortCircuitEvaluation() {
  doSomething() || doSomethingElse()
}

function equivalentEvaluation() {
  var flag = doSomething();
  if (!flag) {
    doSomethingElse();
  }
}

However, the following expressions are not equivalent due to operator precedence, and stresses the importance of requiring the right hand operator to be a single expression (grouped if needed by parentheses).

false && true  || true      // returns true
false && (true || true)     // returns false

Logical AND (&&)

The following code shows examples of the && (logical AND) operator.

a1 = true  && true      // t && t returns true
a2 = true  && false     // t && f returns false
a3 = false && true      // f && t returns false
a4 = false && (3 == 4)  // f && f returns false
a5 = "Cat" && "Dog"     // t && t returns "Dog"
a6 = false && "Cat"     // f && t returns false
a7 = "Cat" && false     // t && f returns false

Logical OR (||)

The following code shows examples of the || (logical OR) operator.

o1 = true  || true       // t || t returns true
o2 = false || true       // f || t returns true
o3 = true  || false      // t || f returns true
o4 = false || (3 == 4)   // f || f returns false
o5 = "Cat" || "Dog"      // t || t returns "Cat"
o6 = false || "Cat"      // f || t returns "Cat"
o7 = "Cat" || false      // t || f returns "Cat"

Logical NOT (!)

The following code shows examples of the ! (logical NOT) operator.

n1 = !true              // !t returns false
n2 = !false             // !f returns true
n3 = !"Cat"             // !t returns false

Conversion rules

Converting AND to OR

the following operation involving Booleans:

bCondition1 && bCondition2

is always equal to:

!(!bCondition1 || !bCondition2)

Converting OR to AND

the following operation involving Booleans:

bCondition1 || bCondition2

is always equal to:

!(!bCondition1 && !bCondition2)

Converting between NOTs

the following operation involving Booleans:

!!bCondition

is always equal to:

bCondition

Removing nested parentheses

As logical expressions are evaluated left to right, it is always possible to remove parentheses from a complex expression following some rules.

Removing nested AND

The following composite operation involving Booleans:

bCondition1 || (bCondition2 && bCondition3)

is always equal to:

bCondition1 || bCondition2 && bCondition3

Removing nested OR

The following composite operation involving Booleans:

bCondition1 && (bCondition2 || bCondition3)

is always equal to:

!(!bCondition1 || !bCondition2 && !bCondition3)

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 5.1 (ECMA-262) Standard Initial definition.
ECMAScript 5.1 (ECMA-262) Standard Defined in several sections of the specification: Logical NOT Operator, Binary Logical Operators
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262) Standard Defined in several sections of the specification: Logical NOT Operator, Binary Logical Operators

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Logical AND (&&) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Logical OR (||) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Logical NOT (!) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Logical AND (&&) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Logical OR (||) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Logical NOT (!) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: fscholz,
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