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Special Member Functions

C++ defines several kinds of functions that can be declared only as class members — these are called "special member functions." These functions affect the way objects of a given class are created, destroyed, copied, and converted into objects of other types. Another important property of many of these functions is that they can be called implicitly (by the compiler).

The special member functions described in this section are as follows:

The items in the preceding list can be user-defined for each class.

Special member functions obey the same access rules as other member functions. The access rules are described in Member-Access Control. The following table summarizes how member and friend functions behave.

Summary of Function Behavior

Function Type Is Function Inherited from Base Class? Can Function Be Virtual? Can Function Return a Value? Is Function a Member or Friend? Will Compiler Generate Function if User Does Not?
Constructor No No No Member Yes
Copy Constructor No No No Member Yes
Destructor No Yes No Member Yes
Conversion Yes Yes No Member No
Assignment (operator=) No Yes Yes Member Yes
new Yes No void* Static member No
delete Yes No void Static member No
Other member
Yes Yes Yes Member No
Friend functions No No Yes Friend No

See Also

C++ Language Reference