Defined in header <stdarg.h>
T va_arg( va_list ap, T );

The va_arg macro expands to an expression of type T that corresponds to the next parameter from the va_list ap.

Prior to calling va_arg, ap must be initialized by a call to either va_start or va_copy, with no intervening call to va_end. Each invocation of the va_arg macro modifies ap to point to the next variable argument.

If the type of the next argument in ap (after promotions) is not compatible with T, the behavior is undefined, unless:

  • one type is a signed integer type, the other type is the corresponding unsigned integer type, and the value is representable in both types; or
  • one type is pointer to void and the other is a pointer to a character type.

If va_arg is called when there are no more arguments in ap, the behavior is undefined.


ap - an instance of the va_list type
T - the type of the next parameter in ap

Expanded value

the next variable parameter in ap.


#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdarg.h>
#include <math.h>
double stddev(int count, ...) 
    double sum = 0;
    double sum_sq = 0;
    va_list args;
    va_start(args, count);
    for (int i = 0; i < count; ++i) {
        double num = va_arg(args, double);
        sum += num;
        sum_sq += num*num;
    return sqrt(sum_sq/count - (sum/count)*(sum/count));
int main(void) 
    printf("%f\n", stddev(4, 25.0, 27.3, 26.9, 25.7));




  • C11 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:2011):
    • The va_arg macro (p: 269-270)
  • C99 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:1999):
    • The va_arg macro (p: 249-250)
  • C89/C90 standard (ISO/IEC 9899:1990):
    • The va_arg macro

See also

makes a copy of the variadic function arguments
(function macro)
ends traversal of the variadic function arguments
(function macro)
holds the information needed by va_start, va_arg, va_end, and va_copy
enables access to variadic function arguments
(function macro)
C++ documentation for va_arg

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