I need to compare two strings and ignoring the case of the contents. IF [ $first != $second ]. Anything I can add to this command so that the comparison ignores the case.


In bash, you can perform case conversions easily e.g. if var="vAlUe" then

$ echo "${var^^}"


$ echo "${var,,}"

You can use this to make you comparison case-insensitive by converting both arguments to the same case, i.e.

if [ "${first,,}" == "${second,,}" ]; then
  echo "equal"


if [ "${first^^}" == "${second^^}" ]; then
  echo "equal"

Another approach is to use the bash nocasematch option (thanks @Tshilidzi_Mudau), although this appears to work only with the [[ ... ]] extended test operator:

$ first=abc; second=ABC
$ (shopt -s nocasematch; if [[ "$first" == "$second" ]]; then echo "Match"; else echo "No match"; fi)


$ (shopt -s nocasematch; if [ "$first" == "$second" ]; then echo "Match"; else echo "No match"; fi)
No match
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  • Unfortunately, this does not recognize letters with diacritical marks: é is not converted into É (or vice versa). – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' Dec 10 '15 at 0:27
  • Is your locale define for the correct (with diacritics) letters, @G-Man? (askubuntu.com/questions/17001/how-to-set-locale) – boardrider Dec 10 '15 at 10:22
  • @boardrider: Well, (a) my default locale is en_US.UTF-8, (b) I'm not willing to make non-volatile configuration changes (even if reversible) or install software on my machine just to test this, and (c) I'm doing this on Cygwin, which might not be 100% representative of Unix.  But (1) even in the en_US.UTF-8 locale, I can do var="àÉîö" and echo "$var", and it correctly regurgitates the characters that I gave it, and (2) I started a new shell with LANG=fr_FR.UTF-8 bash, and "${var^^}" and "${var,,}" still just give me àÉîö.  … (Cont’d) – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' Dec 10 '15 at 21:32
  • (Cont’d) …  And I believe that I have effectively set bash’s locale, because (a) when I type type foo, it says bash: type: foo : non trouvé, and (b) env | grep LC_ and set | grep LC_ give no output.  Can you suggest anything else to try? – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' Dec 10 '15 at 21:33
  • unix.stackexchange.com/questions/84942/… might be helpful. – boardrider Dec 11 '15 at 16:02

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