NaN in JavaScript

NaN in JavaScript stands for Not a Number. It is the result of numerical operations, where result is not a number. It is represented by a special property of the global object with the name NaN. NaN is also property of the number object and can refer it using the Number.NaN. The typeof NaN is primitive number. We can check whether a value is NaN by using the isNaN function or by Number.IsNan method.

NaN

The number data type represents all numbers in JavaScript. It also contains three special values i.e. Not A Number (NaN), positive infinity and negative infinity.

JavaScript does not throw error when we perform a invalid arithmetic operations like dividing by zero. Instead it returns a special value NaN.

NaN is represented by a Literal NaN, which is a property of the global object. NaN is also property of the number object and can refer it using the Number.NaN

NaN is a specal value in the number data type. Hence type of NaN is number.

NaN can happen in several ways.

  • Converting an Invalid value to a number
  • Dividing Zero by Zero
  • Operations involving infinity
  • All Operations involving NaN

Converting an Invalid value to a number

In this following case, we are trying to convert a string to a number. Since “test” cannot be converted to a number it results in a NaN.

Or using an invalid value in any function that expects a number. For Example Math.round or parseInt methods

Converting Undefined into a number

Dividing Zero by Zero

Example

Operations involving infinity

Multiply an Infinity by Zero or divide Infinity by Infinity will result in NaN. Subtracting Infinity by Infinity also results in NaN.

Operations involving NaN

All operations involving NaN results in a NaN.

Comparing NaN

Any comparison between the two NaN's always results in false. NaN is never equal to itself.

In the following example, n1 & n2 are NaN's. But they are neither equal or greater or lesser from each other.

How to check if the value is NaN

There are two ways in which we can check if the value is NaN. One is using the isNan function and the other is to use the Number.isNaN method.

IsNaN

We can check whether a value is NaN by using the global IsNaN method.

The following code works because isNaN tries to convert the “test” into a number, which results in a NaN value. Hence the output is true.

Number.IsNaN

You can also use the Number.IsNaN method, But it does not forcefully convert the parameter to a number. If the argument is not a number, then it results false.

Booleans are not NaN

Booleans are implemented as numerical values with a single binary digit (i.e., 0 & 1). Hence they are treated as numbers.

Summary

When a proper number cannot be the result of numerical operations, then the result is NaN. For Example, converting a string to a number. NaN is a primitive number. The NaN can appear when you convert an Invalid value to a number, Divide Zero by Zero, Some operations involving infinity & all Operations involving NaN, etc. You can check if the value is NaN by using the method IsNaN or Number.IsNaN

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