I am working with some location data and am querying an API with U.S. postal codes and returns a result like:

  "defaultRecordType":"PO BOX",

I need to parse this to create output that also includes the full state name as well like: ATLANTA, Georgia, GA, 30301

I created an associative array called States so that ${States[GA]} would return the value Georgia and tried to pass the array to jq as an argument like:

curl -sS <enpoint> |jq -r '"${States[\(.defaultState)]}, \(.defaultState), \(.defaultCity), \(.zip5)"'

Which resulted in the output ${States[GA]}, GA, ATLANTA, 30301

Is there anyway to pass and evaluate bash arrays in jq filters or similar?

Only option that I am seeing is to capture the output and pass through eval, but of course eval is evil... I am also going to be doing this thousands of times and combining with other external data from a file so I would prefer a better option than constructing convoluted strings with embedded bash arguments and eval'ing it.


Forgot to mention I tried search jq 1.6 manual without luck and found this SO Post which led me to try passing States array as jq arg like so:

curl -sS <enpoint> |jq -r --arg states $States '"$states[\(.defaultState)], \(.defaultState), \(.defaultCity), \(.zip5)"'

but still no luck.

Workable script implementing steeldrivers answer:

#! /bin/bash

# Do once and save
statesJson=$(for state in "${!StatesArray[@]}"; do 
                printf '{"name":"%s",\n"value":"%s"}\n' $state "${StatesArray[$state]}";
            done \
            | jq -s 'reduce .[] as $i ({}; .[$i.name] = $i.value)');

# Read zip and 6 other values from SourceDataFile.csv
while IFS=',' read -r zip fileValue02 fileValue03 fileValue04 fileValue05 fileValue06 fileValue07; do 

    # Use zip from file to get expanded location data.
    expandedLocationData=$(curl -sS '<apiEndpoint>' -H <Headers> --data "zip=$zip" |jq -r --argjson states "${statesJson}" '"\United States, US, ($states[.defaultState]), \(.defaultState), \(.defaultCity), \(.zip5)"');

    # Do useful things with the completed data set.
    echo "${expandedLocationData}, ${fileValue02} ${fileValue03}, ${fileValue04}, ${fileValue05}, ${fileValue06}, ${fileValue07}" > ./DestinationDataFile.csv

done < ./SourceDataFile.csv

1 Answer 1


If you can turn the bash array into a valid JSON object, then (with minor tweaks to the string interpolation) you could pass it using --argjson. For example, given

$ declare -p States
declare -A States=([GA]="Georgia" [NY]="New York" [ME]="Maine" )

then referring to


$ for k in "${!States[@]}"; do printf '{"name":"%s",\n"value":"%s"}\n' $k "${States[$k]}"; done | jq -s 'reduce .[] as $i ({}; .[$i.name] = $i.value)'
  "GA": "Georgia",
  "NY": "New York",
  "ME": "Maine"

so that

$ jq -r --argjson states \
    "$(for k in "${!States[@]}"; do printf '{"name":"%s",\n"value":"%s"}\n' $k "${States[$k]}"; done | jq -s 'reduce .[] as $i ({}; .[$i.name] = $i.value)')" \
    '"\($states[.defaultState]), \(.defaultState), \(.defaultCity), \(.zip5)"' file.json
Georgia, GA, ATLANTA, 30301
  • Took me a good several minutes to wrap my head around this. It worked once I figured I needed to Pipe my API results from curl into the first jq call and also remove the "file.json" at the end, which was causing errors. Thanks for the help... the --argjson option is something I can see being used often to inject external data.
    – DVS
    Mar 20, 2020 at 20:27
  • @DVS tbh it was so ugly I wasn't sure I should post it. It ends up that way because JSON is picky about trailing commas, and the only way I could find to sanitize it was the stream of objects --> array of objects --> object route Mar 20, 2020 at 20:53

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