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Dynamically Sized Types

Most types have a fixed size that is known at compile time and implement the trait Sized. A type with a size that is known only at run-time is called a dynamically sized type (DST) or, informally, an unsized type. Slices and trait objects are two examples of DSTs. Such types can only be used in certain cases:

  • Pointer types to DSTs are sized but have twice the size of pointers to sized types
    • Pointers to slices also store the number of elements of the slice.
    • Pointers to trait objects also store a pointer to a vtable.
  • DSTs can be provided as type arguments when a bound of ?Sized. By default any type parameter has a Sized bound.
  • Traits may be implemented for DSTs. Unlike type parameters Self: ?Sized by default in trait definitions.
  • Structs may contain a DST as the last field, this makes the struct itself a DST.

Notably: variables, function parameters, const and static items must be Sized.

© 2010 The Rust Project Developers
Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 or the MIT license, at your option.
https://doc.rust-lang.org/reference/dynamically-sized-types.html