In programming a "higher order function" is a function that does at least one of two things:

  • take a function as a argument
  • returns a function

Given that I have interviews coming up shortly, what's the correct way to reference those functions in French?

2 Answers 2


Le terme fonction d'ordre supérieur peut être utilisé pour ce type de fonctions, que ce soit dans le domaine informatique, ou en mathématiques.

On retrouve ces fonctions couramment dans la programmation fonctionnelle, mais aussi dans certains languages impératifs.

  • Merci beaucoup, j'ai pensé à une traduction aussi "évidente". Cependant j'ai pris l'habitude de me méfier d'éventuels faux-amis, spécialement dans le domaine technique.
    – rahmu
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 15:30

As @Mat said it, you can use the direct translation "fonction d'ordre supérieur". There is another term that is commonly used, that is to say : "une fonctionnelle" which is the mathematical term for function which takes other functions in parameters.

Also, but very rare, the term "forme" is eventually used.

For higher order functions returning functions, there is the term "fonctions curryfiées", derived from the "curryfication". It comes from the Lambda-Calculus, where you can have functions taking multiple arguments, only use some of them and returning a function which will processed the other parameters left untouched. The concept exists in programming too.

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