What is the meaning of prepended double colon "::"?

This ensures that resolution occurs from the global namespace, instead of starting at the namespace you're currently in. For instance, if you had two different classes called Configuration as such:

class Configuration; // class 1, in global namespace
namespace MyApp
    class Configuration; // class 2, different from class 1
    function blah()
        // resolves to MyApp::Configuration, class 2
        // resolves to top-level Configuration, class 1

Basically, it allows you to traverse up to the global namespace since your name might get clobbered by a new definition inside another namespace, in this case MyApp.

The :: operator is called the scope-resolution operator and does just that, it resolves scope. So, by prefixing a type-name with this, it tells your compiler to look in the global namespace for the type.


int count = 0;

int main(void) {
  int count = 0;
  ::count = 1;  // set global count to 1
  count = 2;    // set local count to 2
  return 0;