Let’s create an array that contains name of the popular Linux distributions: distros=("Ubuntu" "Red Hat" "Fedora") The distros array current contains three elements. Associative arrays are always unordered, they merely associate key-value pairs. However, you may use name references to pass names of associative arrays (or of whatever other variable you may want). Bash, however, includes the ability to create associative arrays, and it treats these arrays the same as any other array. on April 28, 2010. Example: For example, you can append Kali to the distros array as follows: Enter the weird, wondrous world of Bash arrays. You could use the same technique for copying associative arrays: Bash Associative Arrays by Mitch Frazier. There is another solution which I used to pass variables to functions. I've declared match in my main function and I need to use this in another function which looks like this: 0,1 doesn't mean anything special in associative arrays, that's just the string 0,1. What specifically is your concern about the script being "easily modified" here? Data structures other than strings can't really be passed around between shell functions. How can I pass a key array to a function in bash? 1. Associative arrays (sometimes known as a "hash" or "dict") use arbitrary nonempty strings as keys. It's not like bash internally creates a row for 0 with columns labelled 1 and 0. You just need to add two lines for each function addition, so I'd call that easily modified. It seems, that associative arrays can't be serialized or copied. In this article, we will explain how you can declare and initialize associative arrays in Linux bash. In other words, associative arrays allow you to look up a value from a table based upon its corresponding string label. I'm trying to replicate this function I've written in Python that prints a message based on the player and opponents move and compares those moves with an associative array called match. Copying associative arrays is not directly possible in bash. Adding array elements in bash. Associative arrays are an abstract data type similar to dictionaries or maps. The first thing we'll do is define an array containing the values of the --threads parameter that If you're using Bash 4.3 or newer, the cleanest way is to pass the associative array by name and then access it inside your function using a name reference with local -n. How to pass an associative array as argument to a function in Bash , I had exactly the same problem last week and thought about it for quite a while. If you agree with that, then you probably won't want to read about the "new" associative arrays that were added in version 4.0 of bash. The bash man page has long had the following bug listed: "It's too big and too slow" (at the very bottom of the man page). Bash supports both regular arrays that use integers as the array index, and associative arrays, which use a string as the array index. 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