How can I check if the variable is "undefined" in JavaScript?

What are Asserts in Python and how to use them?

Hi Jasmine,

If you want to check whether a variable has been declared, regardless of its value, using the in operator is the safest method. For example:

// global scope
var theFu; // theFu has been declared, but its value is undefined
typeof theFu; // "undefined"

However, using typeof may not give the intended result in all cases because the variable might be declared but not initialized. The in operator provides a more robust check:

"theFu" in window; // true
"theFoo" in window; // false

If you want to know whether the variable hasn’t been declared or has the value undefined, use the typeof operator, which is guaranteed to return a string:

if (typeof myVar !== 'undefined')

Direct comparisons against undefined can be problematic since undefined can be overwritten:

window.undefined = "foo";
"foo" == undefined // true

Note that in ECMAScript 5th edition, this has been patched, and undefined is non-writable.

Using if (window.myVar) is not robust because it includes falsy values like:

  • false
  • 0
  • ""
  • NaN
  • null
  • undefined

Additionally, the condition if (myVariable) can throw an error in two scenarios. The first is when the variable hasn’t been declared, resulting in a ReferenceError:

// abc was never declared.
if (abc) {
    // ReferenceError: abc is not defined

The second scenario is when the variable is defined but has a getter function that throws an error:

// or it's a property that can throw an error
Object.defineProperty(window, "myVariable", { 
    get: function() { throw new Error("W00t?"); }, 
    set: undefined 
if (myVariable) {
    // Error: W00t?

If a variable is undefined, it will not be equal to a string containing the characters “undefined” since a string is not undefined.

To check if a variable is defined, you can use the typeof operator:

if (typeof something !== "undefined") ...

In some cases, you might not need to check the type. If the variable’s value cannot evaluate to false when set (e.g., if it’s a function), you can directly evaluate the variable:

if (something) {

This approach works well when the variable is expected to always have a truthy value when defined.

If you want to check if a variable foo is undefined, you can use the typeof operator:

if (typeof foo == 'undefined') {
    // Do something

It’s important to note that using strict comparison (!==) is not necessary here because typeof always returns a string.