Bash arrays have numbered indexes only, but they are sparse, ie you don't have to define all the indexes. Bash does not support multi-dimensional arrays, but there is a way to imitate this functionality, if you absolutely have to. This is a pretty common problem in bash, to reference array within arrays for which you need to create name-references with declare -n.The name following the -n will act as a nameref to the value assigned (after =).Now we treat this variable with nameref attribute to expand as if it were an array and do a full proper quoted array expansion as before. @nath declare -p is just a quick way to make bash print the real array (index and contents). Arrays in Bash. When using arrays, one must know how many elements are present in the array. As if this was not complicated enough, with "declare -p", you do not get the type or the original variable. Method 3: Bash split string into array using delimiter. By asking for indexes not in the array you either create an array with indexes missing, ie 0,1,3,6,7,9 This would then mean you have "holes" at positions - 2,4,5,8 and nothing in any index after 9 However, you create your array using the following: Any variable may be used as an array; the declare builtin will explicitly declare an array. bash documentation: Accessing Array Elements. Since bash 4.3 it is not that easy anymore. No, you need not count them all. We can combine read with IFS (Internal Field Separator) to define a delimiter. There is no maximum limit on the size of an array, nor any requirement that members be indexed or assigned contiguously. Unlike in many other programming languages, in bash, an array is not a collection of similar elements. The Bash provides one-dimensional array variables. Arrays are indexed using integers and are zero-based. Now the myarray contains 3 elements so bash split string into array was successful # /tmp/split-string.sh My array: string1 string2 string3 Number of elements in the array: 3 . As a quick example, here’s a data table representing a two-dimensional array. These index numbers are always integer numbers which start at 0. Execute the script. With "declare -n" you can add a reference to another variable and you can do this over and over again. Since bash does not discriminate string from a number, an array can contain a mix of strings and numbers. echo "${array[@]}" Print all elements as a single quoted string Bash Array – An array is a collection of elements. In Bash, there are two types of arrays. Example: There are the associative arrays and integer-indexed arrays. Elements in arrays are frequently referred to by their index number, which is the position in which they reside in the array. In BASH script it is possible to create type types of array, an indexed array or associative array. 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