std::atomic_flag_test_and_set, std::atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit

< cpp‎ | atomic
Concurrency support library
this_thread namespace
Mutual exclusion
Generic lock management
Condition variables
Latches and barriers
Safe reclamation
Atomic types
Initialization of atomic types
(C++11)(deprecated in C++20)
(C++11)(deprecated in C++20)
Memory ordering
Free functions for atomic operations
Free functions for atomic flags
Defined in header <atomic>
bool atomic_flag_test_and_set( volatile std::atomic_flag* obj ) noexcept;
(1) (since C++11)
bool atomic_flag_test_and_set( std::atomic_flag* obj ) noexcept;
(2) (since C++11)
bool atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit( volatile std::atomic_flag* obj,
                                        std::memory_order order ) noexcept;
(3) (since C++11)
bool atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit( std::atomic_flag* obj,
                                        std::memory_order order ) noexcept;
(4) (since C++11)

Atomically changes the state of a std::atomic_flag pointed to by obj to set (true) and returns the value it held before.

1,2) The memory synchronization order is std::memory_order_seq_cst.
3,4) The memory synchronization order is order.


[edit] Parameters

obj - pointer to std::atomic_flag to access
order - the memory synchronization order

[edit] Return value

The value previously held by the flag pointed to by obj.

[edit] Notes

std::atomic_flag_test_and_set and std::atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit can be implemented as obj->test_and_set() and obj->test_and_set(order) respectively.

[edit] Example

A spinlock mutex can be implemented in userspace using an std::atomic_flag.

#include <atomic>
#include <iostream>
#include <thread>
#include <vector>
std::atomic_flag lock = ATOMIC_FLAG_INIT;
void f(int n)
    for (int cnt = 0; cnt < 100; ++cnt)
        while (std::atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit(&lock, std::memory_order_acquire))
            ; // spin until the lock is acquired
        std::cout << "Output from thread " << n << '\n';
        std::atomic_flag_clear_explicit(&lock, std::memory_order_release);
int main()
    std::vector<std::thread> v;
    for (int n = 0; n < 10; ++n)
        v.emplace_back(f, n);
    for (auto& t : v)


Output from thread 2
Output from thread 6
Output from thread 7
...<exactly 1000 lines>...

[edit] See also

the lock-free boolean atomic type
(class) [edit]
atomically sets the value of the flag to false
(function) [edit]
defines memory ordering constraints for the given atomic operation
(enum) [edit]
C documentation for atomic_flag_test_and_set, atomic_flag_test_and_set_explicit