3.2 Function-like Macros

You can also define macros whose use looks like a function call. These are called function-like macros. To define a function-like macro, you use the same ‘#define’ directive, but you put a pair of parentheses immediately after the macro name. For example,

#define lang_init()  c_init()
     ==> c_init()

A function-like macro is only expanded if its name appears with a pair of parentheses after it. If you write just the name, it is left alone. This can be useful when you have a function and a macro of the same name, and you wish to use the function sometimes.

extern void foo(void);
#define foo() /* optimized inline version */
  funcptr = foo;

Here the call to foo() will use the macro, but the function pointer will get the address of the real function. If the macro were to be expanded, it would cause a syntax error.

If you put spaces between the macro name and the parentheses in the macro definition, that does not define a function-like macro, it defines an object-like macro whose expansion happens to begin with a pair of parentheses.

#define lang_init ()    c_init()
     ==> () c_init()()

The first two pairs of parentheses in this expansion come from the macro. The third is the pair that was originally after the macro invocation. Since lang_init is an object-like macro, it does not consume those parentheses.

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Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3.