Glossary: Overloading

Overloading is the reuse of the same symbol or function name for two or more distinct operations or functions. The concept turns up in FORTRAN too, for example:- 1 + 2 1. + 2. Here the plus sign stands for addition, but in the first example, the addition is integer arithmetic whilst in the second it is floating point. As they both perform the same logical operation, and the compiler can be relied on to pick the appropriate physical operation, the overloading of the plus sign is far better than inventing separate symbols for each physical operation. In a similar way generic FORTRAN functions such as MAX stand for a family of maximum functions, with the compiler selecting the right one depending on context.

C++ extends the overloading concept, allowing the user to overload both operators and functions, a powerful feature (for good and evil!)

See OO Concepts: Overloading
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