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last LABEL

The last command is like the break statement in C (as used in loops); it immediately exits the loop in question. If the LABEL is omitted, the command refers to the innermost enclosing loop. The continue block, if any, is not executed:

LINE: while (<STDIN>) {
    last LINE if /^$/;  # exit when done with header

last cannot be used to exit a block that returns a value such as eval {}, sub {}, or do {}, and should not be used to exit a grep() or map() operation.

Note that a block by itself is semantically identical to a loop that executes once. Thus last can be used to effect an early exit out of such a block.

See also "continue" for an illustration of how last, next, and redo work.