May 29, 2024


When working with elements in web development, we often look for a top-down approach when finding relationships between elements. CSS and querySelector/querySelectorAll methods allow us to find relationships using selectors, but what if we want to find an element’s parent based on a selector?

The `HTMLElement` object in JavaScript provides a `closest` method that allows you to look upward in the element tree and find a parent by selector. This is the opposite of traditional CSS selectors, as `closest` looks up the ancestor chain to find a matching parent element. You can provide a simple or complex selector to the `closest` method in order to look upward for a parent element.

For example, if we have an “a” tag that matches ul > li > a, we can find the closest ul element using the `closest` method:

const link = document.querySelector(‘li a’);
const list = a.closest(‘ul’);

By using the `closest` method, we can efficiently look for parent elements based on a selector, a powerful approach that changes the way we find relationships between elements in web development.


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