shift ARRAY

Removes and returns the first element of an array. This shortens the array by one and moves everything down.

my @arr  = ('cat', 'dog');
my $item = shift(@arr); # 'cat'

# @arr is now ('dog');

Returns undef if the array is empty.

Note: shift may also return undef if the first element in the array is undef.

my @arr  = (undef, 'two', 'three');
my $item = shift(@arr); # undef

If ARRAY is omitted, shift operates on the @ARGV array in the main program, and the @_ array in subroutines. shift will operate on the @ARGV array in eval STRING, BEGIN {}, INIT {}, CHECK {} blocks.

Starting with Perl 5.14, an experimental feature allowed shift to take a scalar expression. This experiment has been deemed unsuccessful, and was removed as of Perl 5.24.

See also unshift, push, and pop. shift and unshift do the same thing to the left end of an array that pop and push do to the right end.