I have a bash terminal open. I want to find out whether the option extglob is enabled or disabled in this session, before I change its value. How can I do this?

  • 3
    Note that there's no need to check unless you're curious. If you want it on, just run shopt -s extglob or, if you want it off, run shopt -u extglob. It doesn't make any difference whatsoever if it was on originally or not.
    – terdon
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:19

4 Answers 4


Just run:

$ shopt extglob

It will return the current status:

$ shopt extglob 
extglob         on
$ shopt -u extglob 
$ shopt extglob 
extglob         off

To show all options, just run:

$ shopt
  • This one can also be used for scripting, its return status also indicate option set or unset, but the message will mess standard out.
    – cuonglm
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:10

Use shopt -q:

shopt -q extglob && echo enable || echo disable

-q option make shopt discard output, and return status to indicate that options set or unset.

Note that shopt only reports options which can appear in BASHOPTS variable, those options are not valid to set builtin command.

To check for options which are valid to set, or can be appear in SHELLOPTS, use shopt -qo:

$ bash --posix -c 'shopt -qo posix && echo enable || echo disable'
  • 2
    Why not just shopt extglob?
    – terdon
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:00
  • 1
    Because I don't want the output to mess my standard out :)
    – cuonglm
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:09
  • What do you mean? As far as I can tell, the OP wants to check whether the option is set or not. They mention that this is in a terminal, so I doubt it's part of a script. And, anyway, what's the difference? Both shopt extglob and your approach will write to stdout. Are you thinking of shopt -q extglob && shopt -u extglob || shopt -s extglob?
    – terdon
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:11
  • @terdon: Well, my approach only write to stdout if I want. The general approach is shopt -q extglob && : Code when enable || : Code when disable.
    – cuonglm
    Jan 14, 2016 at 17:16
  • 4
    I can imagine writing a script that would attempt to preserve the user's existing setting, but might have a critical bit of code that will break if it's not set a particular way. This suggests a method to silently determine the current state, save it, and restore it ASAP after performing the crucial operations that require potentially-different state. Jan 14, 2016 at 19:07

There are two lists of options in bash. One for shopt and one for set.

The option extglob belongs to the shopt list.
Its value may be printed by using either shopt extglob or shopt -p extglob.

An option like nounset belongs to the set list.
Its value may be printed by using shopt -op nounset or shopt -o nounset.

Check one option.

To print an specific option (without changing it) for shopt, use shopt -p name:

$ shopt -p xpg_echo
shopt -u xpg_echo

And for set, use: shopt -po name (yes, you may use shopt -op for set list).

$  shopt -po xtrace
set +o xtrace

List options.

To list all options from shopt, use shopt (or reusable shopt -p).
Also shopt -s or shopt -u could be used.

The way to list all options to set is with set -o (related: set +o).
Or: shopt -o is equivalent to set -o and shopt -op is to set +o.


From LESS=+/'^ *shopt \[' man bash:

With no options, or with the -p option, a list of all settable options is displayed, If either -s or -u is used with no optname arguments, the display is limited to those options which are set or unset, respectively.

From LESS=+/'^ *set \[' man bash:

If -o is supplied with no option-name, the values of the current options are printed. If +o is supplied with no option-name, a series of set commands to recreate the current option settings is displayed on the standard output.


$ set -o
allexport       off
braceexpand     on
emacs           on
errexit         off
errtrace        off
functrace       off
hashall         on
histexpand      on
history         on
ignoreeof       off
interactive-comments    on
keyword         off
monitor         on
noclobber       off
noexec          off
noglob          off
nolog           off
notify          off
nounset         off
onecmd          off
physical        off
pipefail        off
posix           off
privileged      off
verbose         off
vi              off
xtrace          off


$  shopt -sp
shopt -s checkwinsize
shopt -s cmdhist
shopt -s expand_aliases
shopt -s extglob
shopt -s extquote
shopt -s force_fignore
shopt -s histappend
shopt -s histverify
shopt -s interactive_comments
shopt -s progcomp
shopt -s promptvars
shopt -s sourcepath

It is worth mentioning about shopt -op which actually lists set options:

$ shopt -op
set +o allexport
set -o braceexpand
set -o emacs
set +o errexit
set +o errtrace
set +o functrace
set -o hashall
set -o histexpand
set -o history
set +o ignoreeof
set -o interactive-comments
set +o keyword
set -o monitor
set +o noclobber
set +o noexec
set +o noglob
set +o nolog
set +o notify
set +o nounset
set +o onecmd
set +o physical
set +o pipefail
set +o posix
set +o privileged
set +o verbose
set +o vi
set +o xtrace

Adding to the answer given above, for set flags,

The current set of flags may be found in $-.

(source: bash help)

if [[ ${-%x*} != $- ]] ; then echo "Debug (xtrace) is on"; fi
  • The question is about extglob which in the context of the answer you linked to "belongs to the shopt list". The linked answer is kind enough to cover the "set list", but what counts is it covers the "shop list" and therefore can be used to know about extglob. So it answers the question. Your answer alone does not answer the question because extglob is not a "set flag" and its state does not affect $-. If the question was about Bash options in general then your answer would fit. The question is specific, so IMO your "answer" should be a comment or an edit to the linked answer. Dec 30, 2021 at 9:31
  • @KamilMaciorowski Thank you for that detailed critique, but ... did you read my answer? Line 1: Adding to the answer (link given). Perhaps it would have been better if I had edited the answer. I'm not here for upvotes. I'm here for utility. Comments are not useful for providing answers, only remarking on them.
    – Otheus
    Feb 23, 2022 at 11:41
  • My point is your answer does not answer the question. Each answer should be standalone. "Adding to another answer" is allowed if what you add also answers the question. Possibly if what you add expands a fragment (of the other answer) that answers the question. Your answer expands a fragment that does not answer the question. The fragment is there as something extra next to a fragment that does. I still think your "answer" does not fit the Q&A scheme, it should be a comment or an edit to the linked answer. But I'm not on a crusade; I have stated my opinion and now I'm going to pass. Feb 23, 2022 at 12:32

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