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Java Operator Precedence

In this section, we will learn the operator precedence in Java along with examples.

What is operator precedence?

The operator precedence represents how two expressions are bind together. In an expression, it determines the grouping of operators with operands and decides how an expression will evaluate.

While solving an expression two things must be kept in mind the first is a precedence and the second is associativity.

Java Operator Precedence


Precedence is the priority for grouping different types of operators with their operands. It is meaningful only if an expression has more than one operator with higher or lower precedence. The operators having higher precedence are evaluated first. If we want to evaluate lower precedence operators first, we must group operands by using parentheses and then evaluate.


We must follow associativity if an expression has more than two operators of the same precedence. In such a case, an expression can be solved either left-to-right or right-to-left, accordingly.

Java Operator Precedence Table

The following table describes the precedence and associativity of operators used in Java.

Precedence Operator Type Associativity
15 ()
Array subscript
Member selection
Left to Right
14 ++
Unary post-increment
Unary post-decrement
Right to left
13 ++
Unary pre-increment
Unary pre-decrement
Unary plus
Unary minus
Unary logical negation
Unary bitwise complement
Unary type cast
Right to left
12 *
Left to right
11 +
Left to right
10 <<
Bitwise left shift
Bitwise right shift with sign extension
Bitwise right shift with zero extension
Left to right
9 <
Relational less than
Relational less than or equal
Relational greater than
Relational greater than or equal
Type comparison (objects only)
Left to right
8 ==
Relational is equal to
Relational is not equal to
Left to right
7 & Bitwise AND Left to right
6 ^ Bitwise exclusive OR Left to right
5 | Bitwise inclusive OR Left to right
4 && Logical AND Left to right
3 || Logical OR Left to right
2 ? : Ternary conditional Right to left
1 =
Addition assignment
Subtraction assignment
Multiplication assignment
Division assignment
Modulus assignment
Right to left

Note: Larger the number higher the precedence.

Java Operator Precedence Example

Let's understand the operator precedence through an example. Consider the following expression and guess the answer.

You might be thinking that the answer would be 18 but not so. Because the multiplication (*) operator has higher precedence than the addition (+) operator. Hence, the expression first evaluates 5*3 and then evaluates the remaining expression i.e. 1+15. Therefore, the answer will be 16.

Let's see another example. Consider the following expression.

In the above expression, * and / operations are performed before + because of precedence. y is multiplied by z before it is divided by k because of associativity.

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