Splitting a string on the command line - the search for the one-liner

It seems like the command line is one of those places where you can accomplish crazy efficient things with one-liners.

Here’s a perfect use case for a CLI one-liner:

In Anki, I often add lists of synonyms and antonyms to my vocabulary cards, but I like them formatted as a bulleted list. My usual route to that involves Markdown. But how to convert this:

известный, точный, определённый, достоверный


- `известный`
- `точный`
- `определённый`
- `достоверный`

After trying to come up with a single text replacement strategy to make this work, the best I could do was this:


words="известный, точный, определённый, достоверный";
echo $words | sed -E 's/, /\n/g'| sed -E 's/(.*)/- `\1`/g'

Sometimes, if I get really irritated at sed, which is more often than I’d like, I’ll switch to sd which has more straightforward syntax.1


words="известный, точный, определённый, достоверный";
echo $words | sd ", " "\n" | sd '(.*)\n' '\u002d \u0060$1\u0060\n';

In both of these cases, the process requires two steps because of the way sed and sd work. First, we strip about the delimiters, then we capture what’s left and format it.

  1. Usually. In the sd example, you’ll see that I had to resort to Unicode in the replacement string, but it doesn’t like the dash and back-tick symbols. ↩︎