< cpp‎ | algorithm
Defined in header <algorithm>
template< class ForwardIt >
ForwardIt unique( ForwardIt first, ForwardIt last );
template< class ForwardIt, class BinaryPredicate >
ForwardIt unique( ForwardIt first, ForwardIt last, BinaryPredicate p );

Removes all consecutive duplicate elements from the range [first, last) and returns a past-the-end iterator for the new logical end of the range. The first version uses operator== to compare the elements, the second version uses the given binary predicate p.

Removing is done by shifting the elements in the range in such a way that elements to be erased are overwritten. Relative order of the elements that remain is preserved and the physical size of the container is unchanged. Iterators pointing to an element between the new logical end and the physical end of the range are still dereferenceable, but the elements themselves have unspecified values. A call to unique is typically followed by a call to a container's erase method, which erases the unspecified values and reduces the physical size of the container to match its new logical size.


[edit] Parameters

first, last - the range of elements to process
p - binary predicate which returns ​true if the elements should be treated as equal.

The signature of the predicate function should be equivalent to the following:

 bool pred(const Type1 &a, const Type2 &b);

The signature does not need to have const &, but the function must not modify the objects passed to it.
The types Type1 and Type2 must be such that an object of type ForwardIt can be dereferenced and then implicitly converted to both of them.

Type requirements
ForwardIt must meet the requirements of ForwardIterator.
The type of dereferenced ForwardIt must meet the requirements of MoveAssignable.

[edit] Return value

Forward iterator to the new end of the range

[edit] Complexity

For nonempty ranges, exactly std::distance(first,last) -1 applications of the corresponding predicate.

[edit] Possible implementation

First version
template<class ForwardIt>
ForwardIt unique(ForwardIt first, ForwardIt last)
    if (first == last)
        return last;
    ForwardIt result = first;
    while (++first != last) {
        if (!(*result == *first) && ++result != first) {
            *result = std::move(*first);
    return ++result;
Second version
template<class ForwardIt, class BinaryPredicate>
ForwardIt unique(ForwardIt first, ForwardIt last, BinaryPredicate p)
    if (first == last)
        return last;
    ForwardIt result = first;
    while (++first != last) {
        if (!p(*result, *first) && ++result != first) {
            *result = std::move(*first);
    return ++result;

[edit] Example

#include <iostream>
#include <algorithm>
#include <vector>
#include <string>
#include <cctype>
int main() 
    // remove duplicate elements (normal use)
    std::vector<int> v{1,2,3,1,2,3,3,4,5,4,5,6,7};
    std::sort(v.begin(), v.end()); // 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 7 
    auto last = std::unique(v.begin(), v.end());
    // v now holds {1 2 3 4 5 6 7 x x x x x x}, where 'x' is indeterminate
    v.erase(last, v.end()); 
    for (int i : v)
      std::cout << i << " ";
    std::cout << "\n";
    // remove consecutive spaces
    std::string s = "wanna go    to      space?";
    auto end = std::unique(s.begin(), s.end(), [](char l, char r){
        return std::isspace(l) && std::isspace(r) && l == r;
    // s now holds "wanna go to space?xxxxxxxx", where 'x' is indeterminate
    std::cout << std::string(s.begin(), end) << '\n';


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
wanna go to space?

[edit] See also

finds the first two adjacent items that are equal (or satisfy a given predicate)
(function template)
creates a copy of some range of elements that contains no consecutive duplicates
(function template)
removes elements satisfying specific criteria
(function template)
removes consecutive duplicate elements
(public member function of std::list)
parallelized version of std::unique
(function template)