< cpp‎ | utility
Utilities library
Language support
Type support (basic types, RTTI)
Library feature-test macros (C++20)
Dynamic memory management
Program utilities
Coroutine support (C++20)
Variadic functions
Debugging support
Three-way comparison
General utilities
Date and time
Function objects
Formatting library (C++20)
Relational operators (deprecated in C++20)
Integer comparison functions
Swap and type operations
Common vocabulary types
Elementary string conversions

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

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.


[edit] Parameters

t - the object to be moved

[edit] Return value

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

[edit] Notes

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 object 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 a forwarding reference (which looks like an rvalue reference to type template parameter), 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", meaning the object's class invariants hold (so 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()
if (!str.empty())
    str.back(); // OK, empty() has no precondition and back() precondition is met
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. However, self-move-assignment of standard library types is guaranteed to place the object in a valid (but usually unspecified) state:

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

[edit] Example

#include <iomanip>
#include <iostream>
#include <string>
#include <utility>
#include <vector>
int main()
    std::string str = "Salut";
    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 " << std::quoted(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 " << std::quoted(str) << '\n';
    std::cout << "The contents of the vector are {" << std::quoted(v[0])
              << ", " << std::quoted(v[1]) << "}\n";

Possible output:

After copy, str is "Salut"
After move, str is ""
The contents of the vector are {"Salut", "Salut"}

[edit] See also

forwards a function argument
(function template) [edit]
obtains an rvalue reference if the move constructor does not throw
(function template) [edit]
moves a range of elements to a new location
(function template) [edit]