I'm looking for a way to get the type of an object:

TypeOf["x"] -> String
TypeOf[1] -> Integer

Or something along those lines.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You need the function Head. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2016 at 20:27

2 Answers 2



list = {1, 2, 3};
integer = 1;
real = 0.1;

Head @ list
Head @ integer
Head @ real








(Post adapted after comments.)

Mathematica 10 introduced a new type system local to Dataset, that's used like this:

DeduceType[{1, Sqrt[2], "test", {1, Sqrt[2], 3}, {1, 2, 3}}]

Mathematica graphics

In this type system a type is not the same as Head[expr]. In this framework the head of an atomic value is instead retrieved by TypeAtoms:

Mathematica graphics

But yes, for what you want to do you still need Head.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ DeduceType is still undocumented. What are actual use cases for this new type system? $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2016 at 20:58
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This new type system serves primarily Dataset. It is not on the same fundamental level as Mathematica's core "type system", of which Head is part. It has a status of specific type system used by one or several application modules internally, and has no meaning in a more general context of fundamental Mathematica language / building blocks. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexeyPopkov So far it seems that it is mostly useful for debugging problems with Dataset, WReach has invoked it in several of his answers to explain different unintuitive behaviors. $\endgroup$
    – C. E.
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @LeonidShifrin It is true, but within this framework they refer to Integer, Real etc. as type atoms, not as types. So whether it is intentional or not they have introduced a new terminology for these labels. Yes, this is nitpicking. I see this as an opportunity to mention TypeSystem to readers who may not know about it. $\endgroup$
    – C. E.
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Each module is free to define its own notion of types, for its own purposes. For example, Compile also has a type system, which is different from either the new TypeSystem or the core Mathematica type system. Both Compile's type system and the new TypeSystem are incomplete - there are types they can't describe (but core Mathematica can). I agree that it is good to mention these, but the question about types in Mathematica in general has a clear and unique answer, and that answer is - atoms and normal expressions, where heads of expressions one may interpret as non-atomic types. $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2016 at 21:32

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