case - conditionally execute a block of commands


switch VALUE
   [case [GLOB ...]
       [COMMAND ...]]


switch executes one of several blocks of commands, depending on whether a specified value matches one of several values. case is used together with the switch statement in order to determine which block should be executed.

Each case command is given one or more parameters. The first case command with a parameter that matches the string specified in the switch command will be evaluated. case parameters may contain wildcards. These need to be escaped or quoted in order to avoid regular wildcard expansion using filenames.

Note that fish does not fall through on case statements. Only the first matching case is executed.

Note that command substitutions in a case statement will be evaluated even if its body is not taken. All substitutions, including command substitutions, must be performed before the value can be compared against the parameter.


Say $animal contains the name of an animal. Then this code would classify it:

switch $animal
    case cat
        echo evil
    case wolf dog human moose dolphin whale
        echo mammal
    case duck goose albatross
        echo bird
    case shark trout stingray
        echo fish
    # Note that the next case has a wildcard which is quoted
    case '*'
        echo I have no idea what a $animal is

If the above code was run with $animal set to whale, the output would be mammal.

If $animal was set to “banana”, it would print “I have no idea what a banana is”.