How to excape special syntax characters in string variable in bash


A string variable containing characters that are used by bash for expansion or as delimiters, e.g.

> path="/this/path/contains whitespace/and/asterisk */myfile.txt"


I want to expand the variable in a way that those bash syntax elements are backslashed (or disabled but not simply quoted), i.e. the output of solution would be

> solution $path
/this/path/contains\ whitespace/and/asterisk\ \*/myfile.txt


Isn’t there a command in bash that does that, rather than having to struggle with all special characters on my own?

>Solution :

Use the %q specifier of printf (a bash builtin):

path="/this/path/contains whitespace/and/asterisk */myfile.txt"
printf '%q\n' "$path"

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