(lispref.info)Cons Cells


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Lists and Cons Cells
====================

   Lists in Lisp are not a primitive data type; they are built up from
"cons cells".  A cons cell is a data object which represents an ordered
pair.  It records two Lisp objects, one labeled as the CAR, and the
other labeled as the CDR.  (These names are traditional.)

   A list is made by chaining cons cells together, one cons cell per
element.  By convention, the CARs of the cons cells are the elements of
the list, and the CDRs are used to chain the list: the CDR of each cons
cell is the following cons cell.  The CDR of the last cons cell is
`nil'.  This asymmetry between the CAR and the CDR is entirely a matter
of convention; at the level of cons cells, the CAR and CDR slots have
the same characteristics.

   The symbol `nil' is considered a list as well as a symbol; it is the
list with no elements.  For convenience, the symbol `nil' is considered
to have `nil' as its CDR (and also as its CAR).

   The CDR of any nonempty list L is a list containing all the elements
of L except the first.


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