.parent()

.parent( [ selector ] ) Returns: jQuery

Description: Get the parent of each element in the current set of matched elements, optionally filtered by a selector.

  • version added: 1.0.parent( [ selector ] )

    selectorA string containing a selector expression to match elements against.

Given a jQuery object that represents a set of DOM elements, the .parent() method allows us to search through the parents of these elements in the DOM tree and construct a new jQuery object from the matching elements. The .parents() and .parent() methods are similar, except that the latter only travels a single level up the DOM tree.

The method optionally accepts a selector expression of the same type that we can pass to the $() function. If the selector is supplied, the elements will be filtered by testing whether they match it.

Consider a page with a basic nested list on it:

<ul class="level-1">
  <li class="item-i">I</li>
  <li class="item-ii">II
    <ul class="level-2">
      <li class="item-a">A</li>
      <li class="item-b">B
        <ul class="level-3">
          <li class="item-1">1</li>
          <li class="item-2">2</li>
          <li class="item-3">3</li>
        </ul>
      </li>
      <li class="item-c">C</li>
    </ul>
  </li>
  <li class="item-iii">III</li>
</ul>

If we begin at item A, we can find its parents:

$('li.item-a').parent().css('background-color', 'red');

The result of this call is a red background for the level-2 list. Since we do not supply a selector expression, the parent element is unequivocally included as part of the object. If we had supplied one, the element would be tested for a match before it was included.

Examples:

Example: Shows the parent of each element as (parent > child). Check the View Source to see the raw html.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <style>
  div,p { margin:10px; }
  </style>
  <script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
	<div>div, 
    <span>span, </span>
    <b>b </b>

  </div>
  <p>p, 
    <span>span, 
      <em>em </em>
    </span>
  </p>

  <div>div, 
    <strong>strong, 
      <span>span, </span>
      <em>em, 
        <b>b, </b>
      </em>

    </strong>
    <b>b </b>
  </div>
<script>

    $("*", document.body).each(function () {
      var parentTag = $(this).parent().get(0).tagName;
      $(this).prepend(document.createTextNode(parentTag + " > "));
    });
</script>
</body>
</html>

Demo:

Example: Find the parent element of each paragraph with a class "selected".

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
  <script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.js"></script>
</head>
<body>
	<div><p>Hello</p></div>

  <div class="selected"><p>Hello Again</p></div>

<script>$("p").parent(".selected").css("background", "yellow");</script>
</body>
</html>

Demo: