What is delegate in C#? Why we need delegate?

In C#, a delegate is a type that represents references to methods with a specific signature. It is essentially a function pointer or a callback mechanism that allows you to encapsulate and pass around methods as objects. Delegates provide a way to achieve callback functionality, event handling, and implementing the observer pattern.

Delegates are especially useful in scenarios where you want to decouple the invoker of a method from the actual method implementation. They allow you to define a contract or a template for a method and then pass the responsibility of implementing that method to another class or object.

Here are some reasons why delegates are used in C#:

1. Callbacks: Delegates can be used to define callbacks. You can pass a delegate as a parameter to a method, and that method can then call the delegate to invoke a specific method when a certain condition is met.

2. Event handling: Delegates are commonly used to implement event handling in C#. Events allow objects to notify other objects when something significant happens. By using delegates, you can register event handlers to be called when the event occurs.

3. Extensibility: Delegates provide a way to extend the behavior of a class without modifying its code. You can define a delegate in a base class or interface, and derived classes can provide their own implementations for that delegate, allowing for flexible and customizable behavior.

4. Asynchronous programming: Delegates can be used in asynchronous programming scenarios, such as invoking a method on a separate thread or using the `async` and `await` keywords. Delegates can represent an asynchronous operation and be used to handle the results or completion of that operation.

Overall, delegates in C# offer a powerful mechanism for achieving flexibility, decoupling, and extensibility in your code by treating methods as first-class objects that can be passed and executed at runtime.

Sure! Here's an example that demonstrates the usage of delegates in C#:


          using System;

// Step 1: Declare a delegate

delegate void PrintDelegate(string message);

class Program


    static void Main()


        // Step 2: Create delegate instances and associate them with methods

        PrintDelegate printDelegate1 = PrintMessage;

        PrintDelegate printDelegate2 = PrintGreetings;

        // Step 3: Invoke the delegate instances



        // Step 4: Combining delegates

        PrintDelegate printDelegate3 = printDelegate1 + printDelegate2;


        // Step 5: Removing delegates

        printDelegate3 -= printDelegate2;

        printDelegate3("After removal");

        // Step 6: Using built-in delegates

        Action<string> actionDelegate = PrintMessage;

        actionDelegate("Using Action<>");

        Func<int, int, int> addDelegate = AddNumbers;

        int result = addDelegate(3, 5);

        Console.WriteLine("Result: " + result);


    // Step 7: Define methods that match the delegate's signature

    static void PrintMessage(string message)


        Console.WriteLine("Message: " + message);


    static void PrintGreetings(string greeting)


        Console.WriteLine("Greeting: " + greeting);


    static int AddNumbers(int a, int b)


        return a + b;



In this example:

  1. We declare a delegate named `PrintDelegate` that takes a string parameter and has a `void` return type.
  2. In the `Main` method, we create delegate instances `printDelegate1` and `printDelegate2`, associating them with the methods `PrintMessage` and `PrintGreetings` respectively.
  3. We invoke the delegate instances using the syntax `delegateInstance(arguments)`.
  4. We demonstrate combining delegates using the `+` operator and removing delegates using the `-` operator.
  5. We show the usage of built-in delegates `Action<>` and `Func<>`. `Action<>` is a delegate type that takes parameters but doesn't return a value, while `Func<>` is a delegate type that takes parameters and returns a value.
  6. We define methods that match the delegate's signature (`PrintMessage`, `PrintGreetings`, and `AddNumbers`), which are invoked by the delegate instances.

When you run the code, you'll see the respective messages printed to the console, demonstrating the execution of the methods through delegates.

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