DEV Community

Cover image for Understanding Closures in JavaScript
Maitra Khatri
Maitra Khatri

Posted on • Updated on

Understanding Closures in JavaScript


According to our friendly neighborhood teacher MDN Docs:

A closure is the combination of a function bundled together (enclosed) with references to its surrounding state (the lexical environment).

Function + it's lexical environment = Closure

First things first

Now, we know what a function is and in order to understand Closures completely, we first need to understand Lexical Environment.

If you already understand Lexical Environment lets move ahead, if not then I already have a dedicated blog explaining Lexical Scope and Environment from scratch, to read it click here ↗️

So now you know how lexical scope works.

TL;DR - inner functions can use parent/outer function's variables and functions.

This can be shown by very simple example:

function greet() {
  const userName = "Maitra";
  function greetMsg() {
    console.log("Welcome,", userName);
greet(); //output: Welcome, Maitra
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now, what if I need to extract the inner function and use it like an independent function. Will then it be able to access the userName variable from its parent function ?

The answer is YES !! and the reason is Closures !!!!


You don't believe me ? Try it yourself:

function greet() {
  const userName = "Maitra";
  return function greetMsg() {
    console.log("Welcome,", userName);
const displayMsg = greet();
console.log(displayMsg); //output: ƒ greetMsg() {}
console.log(displayMsg());//output: Welcome, Maitra
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

As you can see, displayMsg is nothing but the function greetMsg but the interesting thing here is that the function displayMsg has no mention of the constant userName, still when called it prints its value.

Although, we we extract an inner function and we can see that the function is alone, but it always comes with its lexical environment (i.e its own lexical scope + its parent's lexical scope)

That's it, the simplest explanation of what Closure is. We can also say that:

Closure is a function that remembers the variables from the place where it was defined, regardless of where it is executed later.

Little fun ft. Doremon

Now I wanna have some fun and that's why I have prepared this fun example that uses closure.

function pocket() {
  const strengthPill = true;
  function doremon() {
    return function nobita() {
      function fightGian() {
        if (strengthPill) {
        } else {
  return doremon();
const nobitaAlone = pocket();
console.log(nobitaAlone); //output: ƒ nobita() {}
console.log(nobitaAlone()); //output: win
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Here, we can see that only if nobita has the strengthPill then he can win against Gian. And as usual nobita is under the protection of doremon and has access to the strengthPill. But what if he has been extracted out and he is alone ???

As we can see in the function nobitaAlone, we only have the function nobita and no mention of the strengthPill, so technically he should lose. But thanks to Closure nobita still has access to the strengthPill and can defeat Gian 🥳

I hope you learned something new and enjoyed the fun in the end. If you did then do checkout:

And don't forget to follow me :)

Top comments (2)

andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Thats a great explanation thanks for sharing.

maitrakhatri profile image
Maitra Khatri

Glad you liked it and it helped you :)