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Suppose that I have an arbitrary variable myVariable. Is there some function fun -- either built-in or one that I can define -- that will return a string "myVariable" when I pass it myVariable?

I would like the output...

myVariable = 123456;

...to give the output...


... (a string output) for some function fun. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much.


marked as duplicate by Mr.Wizard Jul 24 '14 at 14:03

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    $\begingroup$ Looks like you need SymbolName[Unevaluated[myvar]]. $\endgroup$ – Leonid Shifrin Sep 13 '13 at 2:05

You can give the function one of the Hold Attributes.

SetAttributes[fun, HoldFirst]

Then as Leonid suggested

fun[var_] := SymbolName[Unevaluated@var] 

Without the hold attribute, this will not work.


Any of these could be a start:



StringCases[ToString[Hold[myVariable]],RegularExpression["Hold\\[([[:print:]]+)\\]"] -> "$1"][[1]]
  • $\begingroup$ You don't need to use StringCases/regex if you use HoldForm instead of Hold $\endgroup$ – rm -rf Sep 13 '13 at 2:38

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