Vanilla JavaScript Closest

— 4 minute read

Today we are looking into the JavaScript closest() method, what it is, how it works, and a demo on using it.

What is the JavaScript closest method? permalink

It's a method in JavaScript which finds the closest parent to a specific element. It accepts a selector, so the syntax looks like this:

var closestElement = myElement.closest(selectors);

In this syntax, the myElement is from where we will start searching. The method will look upwards until it finds the selector we specified.

The selector can be a DOMString, e.g.: a:hover, label + input

HTML Structure permalink

To test we are going to make the following HTML structure:

<article>
<div class="grand-parent">
<div class="parent">
<a href="#">
<div id="myElement">This is me</div>
</a>
</div>
</div>
</article>

Using the Closest Method permalink

var myElement = document.getElementById('myElement');

var closest1 = myElement.closest('.parent');
console.log(closest1); // div class = parent

var closest2 = myElement.closest('div div');
console.log(closest2); // div id = myElement

var closest3 = myElement.closest('a');
console.log(closest3); // a href element

var closest4 = myElement.closest(':not(div)');
console.log(closest4); // a href element

var closest5 = myElement.closest('article');
console.log(closest5); // the Article

var closest6 = myElement.closest('article > div');
console.log(closest6); // Div with grand-parent class

As you can see it's a very versatile method which accept multiple ways of getting what we want.

See and try for yourself on Codepen.

See the Pen WNryVgp by Chris Bongers (@rebelchris) on CodePen.

Browser Support permalink

The method is not supported in IE (Boooh!), but we can use a Polyfill for it!

Element.closest support

Thank you for reading, and let's connect! permalink

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