Xavi Xavi - 8 months ago 27
Javascript Question

Why does 2 == [2] in JavaScript?

I recently discovered that

2 == [2]
in JavaScript. As it turns out, this quirk has a couple of interesting consequences:

var a = [0, 1, 2, 3];
a[[2]] === a[2]; // this is true

Similarly, the following works:

var a = { "abc" : 1 };
a[["abc"]] === a["abc"]; // this is also true

Even stranger still, this works as well:

[[[[[[[2]]]]]]] == 2; // this is true too! WTF?

These behaviors seem consistent across all browsers.

Any idea why this is a language feature?

EDIT: Here are more insane consequences of this "feature":

[0] == false // true
if ([0]) { /* executes */ } // [0] is both true and false!

var a = [0];
a == a // true
a == !a // also true, WTF?

These examples were found by jimbojw of trephine and http://jimbojw.com fame as well as walkingeyerobot.


You can look up the comparison algorithm in the ECMA-spec (relevant sections of ECMA-262, 3rd edition for your problem: 11.9.3, 9.1,

If you translate the involved abstract algorithms back to JS, what happens when evaluating 2 == [2] is basically this:

2 === Number([2].valueOf().toString())

where valueOf() for arrays returns the array itself and the string-representation of a one-element array is the string representation of the single element.

This also explains the third example as [[[[[[[2]]]]]]].toString() is still just the string 2.

As you can see, there's quite a lot of behind-the-scene magic involved, which is why I generally only use the strict equality operator ===.

The first and second example are easier to follow as property names are always strings, so


is equivalent to


which is just


Keep in mind that even numeric keys are treated as property names (ie strings) before any array-magic happens.