What Does $ Mean in Javascript?

In the vast universe of JavaScript, the ‘$’ symbol is more than just a representation of money. To the uninitiated, its presence in a line of code might seem confusing, but to those in the know, it’s a powerful tool.

Let’s journey to decode the magic of ‘$’ in JavaScript.

The Origin of $ in JavaScript

Historically, the $ symbol was not unique to JavaScript. It’s been used in various programming languages, primarily as a symbol to denote variables or special characters. But JavaScript’s rise to fame came with libraries that sought to simplify complex tasks.

jQuery and the $ Alias

Arguably the most popular association of ‘$’ in JavaScript is with the jQuery library.

What is jQuery?

jQuery is a fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library designed to simplify the HTML scripting process. It’s known for its “write less, do more” mantra.

$ as an Alias:

In jQuery, $ is merely an alias for ‘jQuery’. Thus, ‘$(document).ready(function(){})is essentially the same as ‘jQuery(document).ready(function(){}).

The Benefit of Using $

  • Conciseness and Readability: Using $ reduces the verbosity of the code, making it more concise and, consequently, more readable.
  • Quick Identification: For developers familiar with jQuery, spotting $ makes it instantly clear that jQuery methods are in use.

Other Implementations of $ in JavaScript

While jQuery is a major user of the ‘$’ symbol, it’s not the only one.

Template Literals:

In ES6 and beyond, JavaScript introduced template literals, allowing variables to be embedded within strings using ‘${variableName}’.

Selectors in Libraries:

Other libraries, like Prototype, also utilize ‘$’ as a function or method, mainly for selecting DOM elements.

Conflicts and Overcoming Them

Given $‘s wide adoption, script conflicts can arise when different libraries that use $ are included on the same page.

  • Using jQuery’s noConflict(): This method allows you to create a new alias for ‘jQuery’, freeing up the $ symbol for other uses.
  • Being Explicit: Instead of relying on the alias, use the full ‘jQuery’ keyword when necessary to avoid ambiguity.

Tips for Developers

  • If you’re stepping into a new codebase, don’t assume ‘$’ always refers to jQuery.
  • Always be aware of all libraries included in your project to prevent conflicts.
  • Familiarize yourself with the documentation of any library or framework you’re using to understand the significance of special symbols like ‘$’.


The ‘$’ symbol in JavaScript holds more power than initially thought. From being a convenient alias in jQuery to playing a crucial role in template literals, its versatility is evident. As developers, understanding these nuances not only improves our code but also elevates our grasp of the language. Dive deep, explore, and let the magic of ‘$’ guide your scripting journey.

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