I'm working on the bash script that iterates over the list of files. I need to compare the paths to this files with the array containing the restricted paths.

Inside the for loop I get a path to a file like this:

dname="$(dirname "$i")";

This returns me a relative path like path/to/file

The list of restricted paths is stored in the array:


Then I'm trying to compare the paths:

if [[ "${restricted[*]}" = "$dname" ]]; then

//do some things


However the comparison does not seem to work.

Could you please advise how to solve the issue?

Thank you.


You need to iterate over the elements of the array something like

for i in "${restricted[@]}"
    if [ "$i" == "$ddame" ] ; then
        echo "Found"
  • Is there any way NOT to iterate over the array? Why doesn't my code work though it works for the array of restricted files: if [[ "${fnames[*]}" =~ "$filename" ]]; then ... - this works. – Sray May 1 '14 at 12:30
  • I've no idea, this is what I would do. – Iain May 1 '14 at 12:35

Iain's answer is the official and best one. When I write scripts, that's what I use. However, here is an alternative. It's not wrong with a capital "W", but I'd still wouldn't really recommend it.

if $(echo "${restricted[@]}" | grep -sw "${dname}") ; then
      echo "found"
      echo "not found"

This echos your array, pipes the output to grep, which will only match a whole word (-w) and will provide no output (-s), instead indicating via the exit code that there was/was not a match. That exit code is what you use as the test for the if statement.

Note that this method has the same glaring issue as your =~ example you posted for the file name. It will match on directories that contain your string as a subcomponent. eg: /path/to/file/subfolder and /usr/local/path/to/file will both match. (The slashes count as non-word delimiters to grep's -w) The partial match selector of =~ you're using for your file names will have the same issue.


You can't directly compare an array with a variable; it expands to:

[ "one two three" = "two" ]

Looking at that, I'm sure you can see the problem!


case "${restricted[*]}" in
$ddname|* $ddname|* $ddname *|$ddname *)
    # do something

Untested, you may need quotes on the testing line.

Otherwise, iteration is the only method.

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