Conditionally perform a command, case will selectively execute the command-list corresponding to the first pattern that matches word.

      case word in [ [(] pattern [| pattern]...) command-list ;;]... esac
The `|' is used to separate multiple patterns, and the `)' operator terminates a pattern list. A list of patterns and an associated command-list is known as a clause. Each clause must be terminated with `;;'.

The word undergoes tilde expansion, parameter expansion, command substitution, arithmetic expansion, and quote removal before matching is attempted. Each pattern undergoes tilde expansion, parameter expansion, command substitution, and arithmetic expansion. There may be an arbitrary number of case clauses, each terminated by a `;;'. The first pattern that matches determines the command-list that is executed.

Here is an example using case in a script that could be used to describe one interesting feature of an animal:
echo -n "Enter the name of an animal: "
echo -n "The $ANIMAL has "
case $ANIMAL in
  horse | dog | cat) echo -n "four";;
  man | kangaroo ) echo -n "two";;
  *) echo -n "an unknown number of";;
echo " legs."
The return status is zero if no pattern is matched. Otherwise, the return status is the exit status of the command-list executed.

I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with "Guess" on it. I said, "Thyroid problem?" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Related commands:

if - Conditionally perform a command
for - Expand words, and execute commands
until - Execute commands (until error)
while - Execute commands

Equivalent Windows NT command:

FOR - Conditionally perform a command several times
IF - Conditionally perform a command

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Simon Sheppard