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symbol-function symbol => contents

(setf (symbol-function symbol) new-contents)

Arguments and Values:

symbol---a symbol.

contents--- If the symbol is globally defined as a macro or a special operator, an object of implementation-dependent nature and identity is returned. If the symbol is not globally defined as either a macro or a special operator, and if the symbol is fbound, a function object is returned.

new-contents---a function.


Accesses the symbol's function cell.


 (symbol-function 'car) =>  #<FUNCTION CAR>
 (symbol-function 'twice) is an error   ;because TWICE isn't defined.
 (defun twice (n) (* n 2)) =>  TWICE
 (symbol-function 'twice) =>  #<FUNCTION TWICE>
 (list (twice 3)
       (funcall (function twice) 3)
       (funcall (symbol-function 'twice) 3))
=>  (6 6 6)
 (flet ((twice (x) (list x x)))
   (list (twice 3)
         (funcall (function twice) 3)
         (funcall (symbol-function 'twice) 3)))
=>  ((3 3) (3 3) 6)   
 (setf (symbol-function 'twice) #'(lambda (x) (list x x)))
=>  #<FUNCTION anonymous>
 (list (twice 3)
       (funcall (function twice) 3)
       (funcall (symbol-function 'twice) 3))
=>  ((3 3) (3 3) (3 3))
 (fboundp 'defun) =>  true
 (symbol-function 'defun)
=>  implementation-dependent
 (functionp (symbol-function 'defun))
=>  implementation-dependent
 (defun symbol-function-or-nil (symbol)
   (if (and (fboundp symbol) 
            (not (macro-function symbol))
            (not (special-operator-p symbol)))
       (symbol-function symbol)
       nil)) =>  SYMBOL-FUNCTION-OR-NIL
 (symbol-function-or-nil 'car) =>  #<FUNCTION CAR>
 (symbol-function-or-nil 'defun) =>  NIL

Side Effects: None.

Affected By:


Exceptional Situations:

Should signal an error of type type-error if symbol is not a symbol.

Should signal undefined-function if symbol is not fbound and an attempt is made to read its definition. (No such error is signaled on an attempt to write its definition.)

See Also:

fboundp, fmakunbound, macro-function, special-operator-p


symbol-function cannot access the value of a lexical function name produced by flet or labels; it can access only the global function value.

setf may be used with symbol-function to replace a global function definition when the symbol's function definition does not represent a special operator.

(symbol-function symbol) ==  (fdefinition symbol)
However, fdefinition accepts arguments other than just symbols.

The following X3J13 cleanup issues, not part of the specification, apply to this section:

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