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Names and Symbols

A name (also known as a symbol) is a way to refer to Robjects by name (rather than the value of the object, if any, bound to that name).

as.name and as.symbol are identical: they attempt to coerce the argument to a name.

is.symbol and the identical is.name return TRUE or FALSE depending on whether the argument is a name or not.

Keywords
attribute, programming
Usage
as.symbol(x)
is.symbol(x)

as.name(x) is.name(x)

Arguments
x
object to be coerced or tested.
Details

Names are limited to 10,000 bytes (and were to 256 bytes in versions of Rbefore 2.13.0).

as.name first coerces its argument internally to a character vector (so methods for as.character are not used). It then takes the first element and provided it is not "", returns a symbol of that name (and if the element is NA_character_, the name is `NA`).

as.name is implemented as as.vector(x, "symbol"), and hence will dispatch methods for the generic function as.vector.

is.name and is.symbol are primitive functions.

Value

  • For as.name and as.symbol, an Robject of type "symbol" (see typeof).

    For is.name and is.symbol, a length-one logical vector with value TRUE or FALSE.

Note

The term symbol is from the LISP background of R, whereas name has been the standard S term for this.

References

Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also

call, is.language. For the internal object mode, typeof.

plotmath for another use of symbol.

Aliases
  • name
  • is.symbol
  • as.symbol
  • as.name
  • is.name
Examples
library(base) an <- as.name("arrg") is.name(an) # TRUE mode(an) # name typeof(an) # symbol
Documentation reproduced from package base, version 3.3, License: Part of R @VERSION@

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