17 Language support library [language.support]

17.9 Exception handling [support.exception]

17.9.2 Class exception [exception]

namespace std {
  class exception {
  public:
    exception() noexcept;
    exception(const exception&) noexcept;
    exception& operator=(const exception&) noexcept;
    virtual ~exception();
    virtual const char* what() const noexcept;
  };
}
The class exception defines the base class for the types of objects thrown as exceptions by C++ standard library components, and certain expressions, to report errors detected during program execution.
Each standard library class T that derives from class exception has the following publicly accessible member functions, each of them having a non-throwing exception specification ([except.spec]):
  • default constructor (unless the class synopsis shows other constructors)
  • copy constructor
  • copy assignment operator
The copy constructor and the copy assignment operator meet the following postcondition: If two objects lhs and rhs both have dynamic type T and lhs is a copy of rhs, then strcmp(lhs.what(), rhs.what()) is equal to 0.
The what() member function of each such T satisfies the constraints specified for exception​::​what() (see below).
exception(const exception& rhs) noexcept; exception& operator=(const exception& rhs) noexcept;
Ensures: If *this and rhs both have dynamic type exception then the value of the expression strcmp(what(), rhs.what()) shall equal 0.
virtual ~exception();
Effects: Destroys an object of class exception.
virtual const char* what() const noexcept;
Returns: An implementation-defined ntbs.
Remarks: The message may be a null-terminated multibyte string, suitable for conversion and display as a wstring ([string.classes], [locale.codecvt]).
The return value remains valid until the exception object from which it is obtained is destroyed or a non-const member function of the exception object is called.