C++ FAQ Celebrating Twenty-One Years of the C++ FAQ!!!
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Section 23:
[23.10] What does it mean that the "virtual table" is an unresolved external?

If you get a link error of the form "Error: Unresolved or undefined symbols detected: virtual table for class Fred," you probably have an undefined virtual member function in class Fred.

The compiler typically creates a magical data structure called the "virtual table" for classes that have virtual functions (this is how it handles dynamic binding). Normally you don't have to know about it at all. But if you forget to define a virtual function for class Fred, you will sometimes get this linker error.

Here's the nitty gritty: Many compilers put this magical "virtual table" in the compilation unit that defines the first non-inline virtual function in the class. Thus if the first non-inline virtual function in Fred is wilma(), the compiler will put Fred's virtual table in the same compilation unit where it sees Fred::wilma(). Unfortunately if you accidentally forget to define Fred::wilma(), rather than getting a Fred::wilma() is undefined, you may get a "Fred's virtual table is undefined". Sad but true.