Symbol objects represent names and some strings inside the Ruby interpreter. They are generated using the :name and :"string" literals syntax, and by the various to_sym methods. The same Symbol object will be created for a given name or string for the duration of a program’s execution, regardless of the context or meaning of that name. Thus if Fred is a constant in one context, a method in another, and a class in a third, the Symbol :Fred will be the same object in all three contexts.
module One class Fred end $f1 = :Fred end module Two Fred = 1 $f2 = :Fred end def Fred() end $f3 = :Fred $f1.id #=> 2514190 $f2.id #=> 2514190 $f3.id #=> 2514190
object.c lib/rexml/xpath_parser.rb lib/yaml/rubytypes.rb