Example: You don't need this declare -p command in your real script. Elements in arrays are frequently referred to by their index number, which is the position in which they reside in the array. We can combine read with IFS (Internal Field Separator) to define a delimiter. In Bash, there are two types of arrays. 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: An array is a variable that can hold multiple values, where each value has a reference index known as a key. When using arrays, one must know how many elements are present in the array. 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. Print all elements, each quoted separately. In BASH script it is possible to create type types of array, an indexed array or associative array. 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 . Since bash does not discriminate string from a number, an array can contain a mix of strings and numbers. With "declare -n" you can add a reference to another variable and you can do this over and over again. Instead, bash provides a special operator who does all the work for us. @nath declare -p is just a quick way to make bash print the real array (index and contents). Bash does not support multi-dimensional arrays, but there is a way to imitate this functionality, if you absolutely have to. Execute the script. Method 3: Bash split string into array using delimiter. These index numbers are always integer numbers which start at 0. Bash arrays have numbered indexes only, but they are sparse, ie you don't have to define all the indexes. As if this was not complicated enough, with "declare -p", you do not get the type or the original variable. Arrays in Bash. Since bash 4.3 it is not that easy anymore. As a quick example, here’s a data table representing a two-dimensional array. There is no maximum limit on the size of an array, nor any requirement that members be indexed or assigned contiguously. 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