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  • env_parent() returns the parent environment of env if called with n = 1, the grandparent with n = 2, etc.

  • env_tail() searches through the parents and returns the one which has empty_env() as parent.

  • env_parents() returns the list of all parents, including the empty environment. This list is named using env_name().

See the section on inheritance in env()'s documentation.


env_parent(env = caller_env(), n = 1)

env_tail(env = caller_env(), last = global_env())

env_parents(env = caller_env(), last = global_env())



An environment.


The number of generations to go up.


The environment at which to stop. Defaults to the global environment. The empty environment is always a stopping condition so it is safe to leave the default even when taking the tail or the parents of an environment on the search path.

env_tail() returns the environment which has last as parent and env_parents() returns the list of environments up to last.


An environment for env_parent() and env_tail(), a list of environments for env_parents().


# Get the parent environment with env_parent():
#> <environment: package:rlang>
#> attr(,"name")
#> [1] "package:rlang"
#> attr(,"path")
#> [1] "/home/runner/work/_temp/Library/rlang"

# Or the tail environment with env_tail():
#> <environment: base>

# By default, env_parent() returns the parent environment of the
# current evaluation frame. If called at top-level (the global
# frame), the following two expressions are equivalent:
#> <environment: 0x5614969a0090>
#> <environment: R_EmptyEnv>

# This default is more handy when called within a function. In this
# case, the enclosure environment of the function is returned
# (since it is the parent of the evaluation frame):
enclos_env <- env()
fn <- set_env(function() env_parent(), enclos_env)
identical(enclos_env, fn())
#> [1] TRUE