std::move (3) - Linux Manuals

std::move: std::move


std::move - std::move


Defined in header <utility>
template< class T > (since C++11)
typename std::remove_reference<T>::type&& move( T&& t ) noexcept; (until C++14)
template< class T > (since C++14)
constexpr typename std::remove_reference<T>::type&& move( T&& t ) noexcept;

std::move is used to indicate that an object t may be "moved from", i.e. allowing the efficient transfer of resources from t to another object.
In particular, std::move produces an xvalue_expression that identifies its argument t. It is exactly equivalent to a static_cast to an rvalue reference type.


t - the object to be moved

Return value

static_cast<typename std::remove_reference<T>::type&&>(t)


The functions that accept rvalue reference parameters (including move_constructors, move_assignment_operators, and regular member functions such as std::vector::push_back) are selected, by overload_resolution, when called with rvalue arguments (either prvalues such as a temporary objects or xvalues such as the one produced by std::move). If the argument identifies a resource-owning object, these overloads have the option, but aren't required, to move any resources held by the argument. For example, a move constructor of a linked list might copy the pointer to the head of the list and store nullptr in the argument instead of allocating and copying individual nodes.
Names of rvalue_reference variables are lvalues and have to be converted to xvalues to be bound to the function overloads that accept rvalue reference parameters, which is why move_constructors and move_assignment_operators typically use std::move:

  // Simple move constructor
  A(A&& arg) : member(std::move(arg.member)) // the expression "arg.member" is lvalue
  // Simple move assignment operator
  A& operator=(A&& other) {
       member = std::move(other.member);
       return *this;

One exception is when the type of the function parameter is rvalue reference to type template parameter ("forwarding reference" or "universal reference"), in which case std::forward is used instead.
Unless otherwise specified, all standard library objects that have been moved from are placed in a valid but unspecified state. That is, only the functions without preconditions, such as the assignment operator, can be safely used on the object after it was moved from:

  std::vector<std::string> v;
  std::string str = "example";
  v.push_back(std::move(str)); // str is now valid but unspecified
  str.back(); // undefined behavior if size() == 0: back() has a precondition !empty()
  str.clear(); // OK, clear() has no preconditions

Also, the standard library functions called with xvalue arguments may assume the argument is the only reference to the object; if it was constructed from an lvalue with std::move, no aliasing checks are made. In particular, this means that standard library move assignment operators do not have to perform self-assignment checks:

  std::vector<int> v = {2, 3, 3};
  v = std::move(v); // the value of v is unspecified


// Run this code

  #include <iostream>
  #include <utility>
  #include <vector>
  #include <string>

  int main()
      std::string str = "Hello";
      std::vector<std::string> v;

      // uses the push_back(const T&) overload, which means
      // we'll incur the cost of copying str
      std::cout << "After copy, str is \"" << str << "\"\n";

      // uses the rvalue reference push_back(T&&) overload,
      // which means no strings will be copied; instead, the contents
      // of str will be moved into the vector. This is less
      // expensive, but also means str might now be empty.
      std::cout << "After move, str is \"" << str << "\"\n";

      std::cout << "The contents of the vector are \"" << v[0]
                                           << "\", \"" << v[1] << "\"\n";

Possible output:

  After copy, str is "Hello"
  After move, str is ""
  The contents of the vector are "Hello", "Hello"

See also

forward forwards a function argument
                 (function template)

move_if_noexcept obtains an rvalue reference if the move constructor does not throw
                 (function template)

move moves a range of elements to a new location
                 (function template)