'eval' of closures or fns with runtime metadata within a call expr yields "No matching ctor found" exceptions


  • Type: Defect Defect
  • Status: Closed Closed
  • Priority: Minor Minor
  • Resolution: Declined
  • Affects Version/s: Release 1.5
  • Fix Version/s: None
  • Component/s: None
  • Labels:


I ran into some issues with 'eval' when writing compilation strategies for Graph. It seems these may have been known for some time [1], but I couldn't find a ticket for them, so here we are.

Clojure docs [2] say "If the operator is not a special form or macro, the call is considered a function call. Both the operator and the operands (if any) are evaluated, from left to right," and "Any object other than those discussed above will evaluate to itself." While bare fns do seem to evaluate to themselves in all cases, when in a call expression, the evaluation of the operator fails on fn objects that are closures or have run-time metadata applied:

;; raw non-closures are fine
user> (eval (fn [x] (inc x)))
#<user$eval30559$fn_30560 user$eval30559$fn_30560@354ee11c>

;; raw closures are fine
user> (eval (let [y 1] (fn [x] (+ x y))))
#<user$eval30511$fn_30512 user$eval30511$fn_30512@3bac3a34>

;; non-closures in exprs are fine
user> (eval `(~(fn [x] (inc x)) 1))

;; but closures in exprs cause an error
user> (eval `(~(let [y 1] (fn [x] (+ x y))) 1))
IllegalArgumentException No matching ctor found for class user$eval30535$fn__30536 clojure.lang.Reflector.invokeConstructor (

;; as do fns with metadata in exprs
user> (eval `(~(with-meta (fn [x] (inc x)) {:x 1}) 1))
IllegalArgumentException No matching ctor found for class clojure.lang.AFunction$1 clojure.lang.Reflector.invokeConstructor (




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