Why does the following code not turn off the message Sin::argx?

foo = Sin;

If I try Evaluate, it gives an error message:


Message::name: Message name MessageName[Evaluate[foo],argx] is not of the form symbol::name or symbol::name::language.

Is there a workaround?

  • $\begingroup$ Why not Off[Sin::argx];? Do you mean you don't want to turn off the Sin::argx, and only want to turn off the message when Sin is stored in foo? Or you simply want to turn off the Sin::argx message without typing Sin? $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Dec 27, 2023 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ This is part of a much larger code, and there are a number of possible functions that foo can be. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


Off has an attribute HoldAll, and MessageName has an attribute HoldFirst. To properly evaluate your message name to Sin::argx, you have to Evaluate twice to circumvent both Hold*s:

foo = Sin;

Sin[4, 5]
(* Sin[4, 5] *)

There are other alternatives, such as using With:

With[{foo = foo}, Off[foo::argx]]

or defining a custom function which will evaluate your foo before feeding it into MessageName:

off[f_, tag_] := Off[MessageName[f, tag]]
off[foo, "argx"]

Note, however, that for turning the message back on, the first method with double Evaluate will not work because Sin::argx will get prematurely evaluated to $Off[]. Therefore, use the other two methods:

With[{foo = foo}, On[foo::argx]]

on[f_, tag_] := On[MessageName[f, tag]]
on[foo, "argx"]
  • $\begingroup$ TYVM, both for the explanation, as well as the workarounds. $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 12:25

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