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C++ Primer, Fifth Edition by Barbara E. Moo, Josée Lajoie, Stanley B. Lippman

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12.1.6. weak_ptr

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A weak_ptr (Table 12.5) is a smart pointer that does not control the lifetime of the object to which it points. Instead, a weak_ptr points to an object that is managed by a shared_ptr. Binding a weak_ptr to a shared_ptr does not change the reference count of that shared_ptr. Once the last shared_ptr pointing to the object goes away, the object itself will be deleted. That object will be deleted even if there are weak_ptrs pointing to it—hence the name weak_ptr, which captures the idea that a weak_ptr shares its object “weakly.” ...

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