Upcoming 2025

Closures in Rust are powerful constructs that allow you to define anonymous functions with the ability to capture variables from their surrounding environment. They are particularly useful for situations where you need to pass behavior around as arguments to other functions or store them in data structures. In this guide, we'll explore the syntax and usage of closures in Rust, along with their capturing modes and practical examples.

What are Closures?

In Rust, closures are defined using the |args| body syntax, where args inside pipe symbols | represent the parameters and body represents the implementation. Closures can capture variables from their enclosing scope, making them flexible and concise.

Basic Syntax of a Closure

A basic closure in Rust looks like this:

let print_text = || println!("Hello World!");


Here, print_text is a variable that stores a closure. The || indicates the start of the closure, and println!("Hello World!") is the body of the closure.

Calling a Closure

Closures can be called just like regular functions.

print_text(); // Output: Hello World!


Closure with Parameters

Closures can take parameters just like functions.

let multiply = |x, y| x * y; let result = multiply(3, 4); println!("Result: {}", result); // Output: Result: 12


Capturing Variables with Closures

Closures in Rust capture their environment by reference by default, allowing them to access variables from the scope in which they are defined. This behavior enables closures to carry context with them.

Closures can capture variables in different modes: Fn, FnMut, and FnOnce. These modes determine how the closure interacts with the variables it captures.

Fn (Immutable Borrowing)

Borrows variables by reference, allowing the closure to read the variables but not modify them. The closure retains a reference to the captured variables, allowing multiple invocations without altering the original values.


let x = 5; // immutable closure let print_x = || println!("x: {}", x); print_x(); // Output: x: 5 print_x(); // Output: x: 5


In this example, the closure print_x captures the variable x using the Fn mode. It can access x and print its value, but it cannot modify x.

This mode of capture is also known as Capture by Immutable Borrow.

FnMut (Mutable Borrowing)

Borrows variables by mutable reference, allowing the closure to modify the captured variables.


fn main() {    let mut x = 5;    // mutable closure    let mut increment_x = || {        x += 1;        println!("Incremented x: {}", x);    };    increment_x(); // Incremented x: 6    increment_x(); // Incremented x: 7    println!("x: {}", x); // x: 7 }


In this example, the mutable closure increment_x captures the variable x using the FnMut mode. It can modify x, incrementing its value, and print the updated value.

Mutable closure means no other references of the variable x can exist unless the closure is used. For example,

fn main() {    let mut x = 5;    // mutable closure/ mutable borrow    let mut increment_x = || {        x += 1;        println!("Incremented x: {}", x);    };    // Uncommenting this line will give an error    // let y = &x; // immutable borrow    // Error: cannot borrow `x` as immutable because it is also borrowed as mutable    increment_x(); // Output: Incremented x: 6    let z = &x; // No error, as mutable closure is already used }


This mode of capture is also known as Capture by Mutable Borrow.

FnOnce (Consuming)

Consumes variables, taking ownership of them and allowing only a single call to the closure.


let x = vec![1, 2, 3]; let print_and_consume_x = || {    let new_x = x; // Move happens here    // this value implements `FnOnce`, which causes it to be moved when called    println!("Consumed x: {:?}", new_x); }; // x has been consumed and cannot be used again print_and_consume_x(); // Output: Consumed x: [1, 2, 3] // print_and_consume_x(); // Uncommenting this line will give an error // Error: closure cannot be invoked more than once // because it moves the variable `x` out of its environment // println!("x: {:?}", x); // Error: value borrowed here after move


In this example, the closure print_and_consume_x captures the variable x using the FnOnce mode. Then it moves the variable x to a new variable new_x inside the closure. It prints the contents of new_x and consumes it, preventing any further use of x after the first invocation.

This mode of capture is also known as Capture by Move.

move Keyword

The move keyword is used with closures to explicitly specify how variables should be captured from the enclosing scope. By default, closures in Rust capture variables by reference, but using move changes this behavior to allow the closure to take ownership of the captured variables. This can be particularly useful in situations where you want the closure to own the data it captures, enabling the closure to outlive the scope in which it was defined.


fn main() {    let name = String::from("Alice");    let greet = move || {        println!("Hello, {}!", name);    };    greet();    // println!("Name: {}", name); // Error: value moved }


In this example, the closure greet captures the name variable using the move keyword. This means the closure takes ownership of the name variable, allowing it to be used inside the closure. However, once the closure is defined, the name variable is no longer accessible in the outer scope because it has been moved into the closure.


Closures in Rust are powerful tools for defining flexible and concise behavior. Understanding how to define and use closures, along with their capturing modes, is essential for writing clean and expressive Rust code. Also by using move, you can explicitly specify that a closure should take ownership of its captured variables, enabling you to safely use the closure in different contexts and ensuring that the data it captures remains valid for the duration of its lifetime.