What is polymorphism in Java?

What is polymorphism in Java?

An Explanation of Polymorphism in Java

In the dictionary, polymorphism means “the state of having many shapes or forms.” It is, in fact, ordinarily a biological term. But when it comes to programming languages like Java, it means something a little different from the literal definition.


In Java, polymorphism has two forms:

  • Compile time polymorphism or static binding (example – method overloading)
  • Runtime polymorphism or dynamic binding (example – method overriding)


A crucial type of polymorphism is the method used when a parent class refers to a child class object, but any object that satisfies over one IS-A relationship has the characteristics of being polymorphic.


An example of classes would be:

  • Bicycle
  • MountainBike
  • RoadBike

The two added subclasses override the “printDescription” method and instead print unique data. A test program can create three variables under the heading “Bicycle”, and each one goes to one of the bicycle classes, Then, each variable prints.

Virtual Method Invocation

The Java virtual machine (JVM) uses the correct method for the referred-to object in each variable. It does not use the method defined by the type of variable, hence the name, virtual method invocation. This behavior is an example of one aspect of the polymorphic features in Java.

The Usefulness of Polymorphism in Java

The benefits of polymorphism in the Java language include:

  • The concept allows users to learn object-oriented programming
  • The concept is not difficult to understand
  • It allows for method overriding which is dramatically useful when programming

Dynamic Method Binding

DMB is the tool Java uses to choose which method is called to decide on the superclass and the subclass.

Polymorphism allows users to control completely how he or she groups objects together. It also empowers users to utilize hierarchies of objects. Users can create complex programs that read easily and are neatly organized. Of course, the user’s coding cannot be guaranteed for perfect organization, but the careful coder can be assisted in a big way by polymorphism.


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