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What Are UnaryOperator And BinaryOperator's?

Unary and Binary operators are the other two functional interfaces that most developers are interested in.

Gopi Gorantala
Gopi Gorantala
1 min read

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There are two other functional interfaces in Java that represent operations that take one or two operands respectively, and produce a result of the same type as the operands.

Other functional interfaces commonly used

These interfaces are used by developers on a day to day, which are:

  1. UnaryOperator
  2. BinaryOperator


UnaryOperator is a functional interface and it extends Function.

UnaryOperator is a functional interface that takes a single operand of a specified type, and returns a result of the same type.

This interface extends the Function interface so the methods of the Function the interface can be used in the implementation of the UnaryOperator interface.

The UnaryOperator interface is defined in the java.util.function package.


public interface UnaryOperator<T> {
    T apply(T t);

For example, you can create a UnaryOperator that doubles an integer value like this:

import java.util.function.UnaryOperator;

public class UnaryOperatorExample {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    UnaryOperator<Integer> doubleOperator = x -> x * 2;
    int result = doubleOperator.apply(Constants.VALUE); // result will be 10

    System.out.println(result); // 10


BinaryOperator is also a functional interface and it extends BiFunction.

BinaryOperator is a functional interface that takes two operands of a specified type, and returns a result of the same type.


public interface BinaryOperator<T> {
    T apply(T t1, T t2);

For example, you can create a BinaryOperator that adds two integers like this:

import java.util.function.BinaryOperator;

public class BinaryOperatorExample {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    BinaryOperator<Integer> addOperator = Integer::sum;
    int result =
            Constants.INTEGER_FIRST_VALUE, Constants.INTEGER_SECOND_VALUE); // result will be 5

    System.out.println(result); // 5

Both UnaryOperator and BinaryOperator are useful when you want to pass a function as an argument to another method, or when you want to create a lambda expression that can be reused in multiple places.

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Gopi Gorantala Twitter

Gopi is an engineering leader with 12+ of experience in full-stack development—a specialist in Java technology stack. He worked for multiple startups, the European govt, and FAANG in India and Europe.


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