What's the meaning of "=>" (an arrow formed from equals & greater than) in JavaScript?

In JavaScript, the "=>" operator, also known as the arrow function or fat arrow, is a shorthand syntax introduced in ECMAScript 6 (ES6). It is used to define anonymous functions in a more concise and expressive way. The arrow function has become quite popular among JavaScript developers due to its simplicity and ability to lexically bind the `this` value.

Arrow Function Syntax

The basic syntax of an arrow function is:

(parameters) => { 
    // code block 

Here, the parameters are placed in parentheses, followed by the arrow (`=>`) and then the function body, which is enclosed in curly braces `{}`.

Usage of Arrow Functions

Arrow functions can be used in various scenarios like:

  • Function expressions
  • Callback functions
  • Iterating over arrays
  • Lexical this binding

1. Function Expressions

Arrow functions can be used as a more concise alternative to regular function expressions. Let's compare the two:

// Regular function expression
var add = function(a, b) {
    return a + b;

// Arrow function
var add = (a, b) => a + b;

As you can see, the arrow function eliminates the need for the `function` keyword and the `return` statement, making the code shorter and easier to read.

2. Callback Functions

Arrow functions are often used as callback functions, especially in asynchronous operations like promises or event listeners. Here's an example:

element.addEventListener('click', () => {
    console.log('Button clicked!');

In this example, we define an arrow function as the callback for the click event listener. The function simply logs a message to the console when the button is clicked.

3. Iterating Over Arrays

Arrow functions can be handy when iterating over arrays using methods like `map`, `filter`, or `reduce`. Here's an example:

var numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];

var doubled = numbers.map(number => number * 2);

console.log(doubled); // [2, 4, 6, 8, 10]

In this example, we use the `map` method to create a new array with each number doubled using an arrow function. The resulting array is then logged to the console.

4. Lexical `this` Binding

One of the key advantages of arrow functions is that they don't bind their own `this` value. Instead, they inherit the `this` value from the surrounding scope.

// Regular function
var obj = {
    name: 'John',
    greet: function() {
        setTimeout(function() {
            console.log('Hello, ' + this.name);
        }, 1000);

obj.greet(); // Undefined

// Arrow function
var obj = {
    name: 'John',
    greet: function() {
        setTimeout(() => {
            console.log('Hello, ' + this.name);
        }, 1000);

obj.greet(); // Hello, John

In the first example (using a regular function), the `this` value inside the `setTimeout` callback function refers to the global object, not the `obj` object. As a result, it logs `undefined`.

In the second example (using an arrow function), the `this` value inside the `setTimeout` callback function refers to the `obj` object. Therefore, it logs `Hello, John`.


The arrow function (`=>`) syntax in JavaScript provides a concise and expressive way to define anonymous functions. It is widely used for its simplicity, especially in scenarios like function expressions, callback functions, iterating over arrays, and lexical `this` binding. Understanding the arrow function syntax and its usage can greatly improve your JavaScript code.