What Is JavaScript Tilde? When And How To Use It?

When building dynamic and interactive web applications, one of the operators to master is JavaScript tilde(~).

In this article, we will delve into the world of tildes in JavaScript and explore how to utilize them effectively in your code.

Whether you are a novice or a skilled developer, this article will offer you valuable insights and examples to enhance your coding proficiency.

What is tilde in JavaScript?

In JavaScript, the tilde (~) symbol is a bitwise NOT operator. It’s used to perform a bitwise negation on the binary representation of a number.

Moreover, when you apply the tilde operator to a number, it flips all the bits of that number, changing 0s to 1s and 1s to 0s.

Here’s an example to illustrate how the tilde operator works:

let num = 42;  // Binary: 101010
let result = ~num;

console.log(result);  // Output: -43

In this example, the binary representation of 42 is 101010. When you apply the bitwise NOT operation to it, you get 010101, which represents the decimal value 21 in two’s complement form.

However, JavaScript represents negative numbers using two’s complement notation, so the result is -43 instead of 21.

How to use tilde in JavaScript

Tildes in JavaScript have multiple applications, ranging from manipulating bitwise operations to working with arrays and strings.

Let’s explore various use cases:

Checking Bitwise NOT

The tilde operator in JavaScript is primarily known for performing a bitwise NOT operation.

It flips the bits of a number, turning each 0 into 1 and each 1 into 0. This can be particularly useful in scenarios where you need to invert certain bit patterns.

let num = 42;
let bitwiseNotResult = ~num;
// Result: -43

Indexing in Arrays

Tildes can also aid in indexing arrays. They can be used to convert a zero-based index to its negative form, indicating the index from the end of the array. This can simplify operations that involve accessing elements from the end.

let fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange'];
let lastIndex = ~-2; // Equivalent to fruits.length - 2
let lastButOneFruit = fruits[lastIndex];
// Result: 'banana'

String Manipulation

Tildes can be employed to manipulate strings as well. By using tildes, you can efficiently reverse the order of characters in a string.

let text = 'Hello, world!';
let reversedText = text.split('').reverse().join('');
// Result: '!dlrow ,olleH'

Dealing with Truthy and Falsy Values

Tildes can help identify falsy values in JavaScript. When applied to a value, the tilde operator converts it to a 32-bit signed integer and then checks if it’s equal to -1. This can be used to determine whether a value is falsy.

function isFalsy(value) {
  return ~value ? false : true;

console.log(isFalsy(0));     // true
console.log(isFalsy(''));    // true
console.log(isFalsy(null));  // true
console.log(isFalsy(false)); // true

Bitwise AND with Negative One

Combining the tilde with the bitwise AND operator (&) and -1 can result in a more efficient way to truncate decimal numbers. This is equivalent to using the Math.floor() function.


let decimalNumber = 7.8; let truncatedNumber = decimalNumber | 0; // Result: 7


To sum up, mastering the usage of the tilde operator in JavaScript can significantly imporoved your coding skills.

By performing bitwise operations to optimize code performance, tildes offer a range of possibilities.

By incorporating tildes into your coding toolkit you can tackle complex problems with more efficient solutions.

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