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const

Constants are block-scoped, much like variables declared using the let keyword. The value of a constant can't be changed through reassignment (i.e. by using the assignment operator), and it can't be redeclared (i.e. through a variable declaration). However, if a constant is an object or array its properties or items can be updated or removed.

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Syntax

const name1 = value1 [, name2 = value2 [, ... [, nameN = valueN]]];
nameN

The constant's name, which can be any legal identifier.

valueN

The constant's value. This can be any legal expression, including a function expression.

The destructuring assignment syntax can also be used to declare variables.

const { bar } = foo; // where foo = { bar:10, baz:12 };
/* This creates a constant with the name 'bar', which has a value of 10 */

Description

This declaration creates a constant whose scope can be either global or local to the block in which it is declared. Global constants do not become properties of the window object, unlike var variables.

An initializer for a constant is required. You must specify its value in the same declaration. (This makes sense, given that it can't be changed later.)

The const creates a read-only reference to a value. It does not mean the value it holds is immutable—just that the variable identifier cannot be reassigned. For instance, in the case where the content is an object, this means the object's contents (e.g., its properties) can be altered.

All the considerations about the temporal dead zone apply to both let and const.

A constant cannot share its name with a function or a variable in the same scope.

Unlike var, const begins declarations, not statements. That means you cannot use a lone const declaration as the body of a block (which makes sense, since there's no way to access the variable).

if (true) const a = 1; // SyntaxError: Unexpected token 'const'

Examples

Basic const usage

Constants can be declared with uppercase or lowercase, but a common convention is to use all-uppercase letters.

// define MY_FAV as a constant and give it the value 7
const MY_FAV = 7;

// this will throw an error - Uncaught TypeError: Assignment to constant variable.
MY_FAV = 20;

// MY_FAV is 7
console.log('my favorite number is: ' + MY_FAV);

// trying to redeclare a constant throws an error
// Uncaught SyntaxError: Identifier 'MY_FAV' has already been declared
const MY_FAV = 20;

// the name MY_FAV is reserved for constant above, so this will fail too
var MY_FAV = 20;

// this throws an error too
let MY_FAV = 20;

Block scoping

It's important to note the nature of block scoping.

if (MY_FAV === 7) {
  // this is fine and creates a block scoped MY_FAV variable
  // (works equally well with let to declare a block scoped non const variable)
  let MY_FAV = 20;

  // MY_FAV is now 20
  console.log('my favorite number is ' + MY_FAV);

  // this gets hoisted into the global context and throws an error
  var MY_FAV = 20;
}

// MY_FAV is still 7
console.log('my favorite number is ' + MY_FAV);

const needs to be initialized

// throws an error
// Uncaught SyntaxError: Missing initializer in const declaration

const FOO;

const in objects and arrays

const also works on objects and arrays. Attempting to overwrite the object throws an error "Assignment to constant variable".

const MY_OBJECT = { key: 'value' };
MY_OBJECT = { OTHER_KEY: 'value' };

However, object keys are not protected, so the following statement is executed without problem.

MY_OBJECT.key = 'otherValue';

You would need to use Object.freeze() to make an object immutable.

The same applies to arrays. Assigning a new array to the variable throws an error "Assignment to constant variable".

const MY_ARRAY = [];
MY_ARRAY = ['B'];

Still, it's possible to push items into the array and thus mutate it.

MY_ARRAY.push('A'); // ["A"]

Specifications

Browser compatibility

Desktop Mobile Server
Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari WebView Android Chrome Android Firefox for Android Opera Android Safari on IOS Samsung Internet Deno Node.js
const
21
12
36
["Before Firefox 13, const is implemented, but re-assignment is not failing.", "Before Firefox 46, a TypeError was thrown on redeclaration instead of a SyntaxError."]
11
9
5.1
4.4
25
36
["Before Firefox 13, const is implemented, but re-assignment is not failing.", "Before Firefox 46, a TypeError was thrown on redeclaration instead of a SyntaxError."]
10.1
6
1.5
1.0
6.0.0

See also

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Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License v2.5 or later.
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Reference/Statements/const