Common Lisp the Language, 2nd Edition
The most primitive form for function invocation in Lisp of course has no name; any list that has no other interpretation as a macro call or special form is taken to be a function call. Other constructs are provided for less common but nevertheless frequently useful situations.
apply function arg &rest more-args
This applies function to a list of arguments.
The function may be a compiled-code object, or a lambda-expression, or a symbol; in the latter case the global functional value of that symbol is used (but it is illegal for the symbol to be the name of a macro or special form).
X3J13 voted in June 1988 (FUNCTION-TYPE) to allow the function to be only of type symbol or function; a lambda-expression is no longer acceptable as a functional argument. One must use the function special form or the abbreviation #' before a lambda-expression that appears as an explicit argument form.
The arguments for the function consist of the last argument to apply appended to the end of a list of all the other arguments to apply but the function itself; it is as if all the arguments to apply except the function were given to list* to create the argument list. For example:
(setq f '+) (apply f '(1 2)) => 3 (setq f #'-) (apply f '(1 2)) => -1 (apply #'max 3 5 '(2 7 3)) => 7 (apply 'cons '((+ 2 3) 4)) => ((+ 2 3) . 4) not (5 . 4) (apply #'+ '()) => 0
Note that if the function takes keyword arguments, the keywords as well as the corresponding values must appear in the argument list:
(apply #'(lambda (&key a b) (list a b)) '(:b 3)) => (nil 3)
This can be very useful in conjunction with the &allow-other-keys feature:
(defun foo (size &rest keys &key double &allow-other-keys) (let ((v (apply #'make-array size :allow-other-keys t keys))) (if double (concatenate (type-of v) v v) v))) (foo 4 :initial-contents '(a b c d) :double t) => #(a b c d a b c d)
funcall fn &rest arguments
(funcall fn a1 a2 ... an) applies the function fn to the arguments a1, a2, ..., an. The fn may not be a special form or a macro; this would not be meaningful.
X3J13 voted in June 1988 (FUNCTION-TYPE) to allow the fn to be only of type symbol or function; a lambda-expression is no longer acceptable as a functional argument. One must use the function special form or the abbreviation #' before a lambda-expression that appears as an explicit argument form.
(cons 1 2) => (1 . 2) (setq cons (symbol-function '+)) (funcall cons 1 2) => 3
The difference between funcall and an ordinary function call is that the function is obtained by ordinary Lisp evaluation rather than by the special interpretation of the function position that normally occurs.
The value of call-arguments-limit is a positive integer that is the upper exclusive bound on the number of arguments that may be passed to a function. This bound depends on the implementation but will not be smaller than 50. (Implementors are encouraged to make this limit as large as practicable without sacrificing performance.) The value of call-arguments-limit must be at least as great as that of lambda-parameters-limit. See also multiple-values-limit.