I am looking to have a script delete files that are older than 90 days in certain directories. As in, there are 8 directories that have different paths to them.

I can run the find command on one directory as such:

find /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir4/ -mtime +90 | wc -l

That command will give a result like 6401.

But I have 8 directories that need to be looked through. How could I build a list of directories as a variable. I have:


DIRLIST=/directory1/dir2/dir3/dir4/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir5/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir6/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir6/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir7/


find $DIRLIST | wc -l

The output gives me something along the lines of:

nameofscript.sh[2]: /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir5/: 0403-006 Execute permission denied.

Its strange because when I call that directory alone in the find command, the command works, so I know its not actually a permissions issue.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


You declared $DIRLIST incorrectly

This is how to declare array variable

DIRLIST=(/directory1/dir2/dir3/dir4/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir5/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir6/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir6/ /directory1/dir2/dir3/dir7/)

Then run find command:

find "${DIRLIST[*]}" | wc -l

  • 1
    Array Variable! That is what I was looking for. This helped greatly, thank you! As I have multiple arrays specified, I didn't need to use the wildcard. Also, its an older version of AIX ( yay corporate red tape) so I used single quotes as opposed to the parens. Got it working.
    – Simply
    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:44
  • 1
    Actually it should be "${DIRLIST[@]}". If you don't quote the variable, then word splitting will be performed on the array values.
    – gardenhead
    Jan 8, 2016 at 8:26
  • 1
    @Simply With quotes around the value and spaces between values, you aren't defining an array, you're defining a string variable. If you then use an unquoted expansion (find $DIRLIST), which is the “glob+split” operator, that works for you, provided the directory names don't contain spaces or \[*?. Jan 8, 2016 at 23:17

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