How to find or get a reference to the closest parent DOM element in JavaScript?

Published August 19, 2020

Suppose you have an element and want to get a reference to the closest parent element up the DOM tree.

To achieve that you can use the closest() method on a specific element and pass the selector string. The method returns a reference to the first closest parent element matching the selector.

Consider this HTML,

<section>
  <div class="article">
    <div class="heading-section">
      <h1 id="main-heading">This is a big heading</h1>
      <p id="sub-heading">A sub heading</p>
    </div>
  </div>
</section>

Here we have an h1 tag with id="main-heading" and we want to get a reference to the div tag with class="article".

Let's write the code for that.

First, Let's get the reference to our h1 tag.

// reference to h1 tag
const h1 = document.querySelector("#main-heading");

Now let's use the closest() DOM element method and pass the selector string for the parent tag that is the .article class name as an argument to it.

// reference to h1 tag
const h1 = document.querySelector("#main-heading");

// get reference to parent element
// with class name article
const article = h1.closest(".article");

console.dir(article); // article reference
  • If there is no element with .article class name, the method returns null.

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