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Comparison Expressions as Patterns
==================================

   "Comparison patterns" test relationships such as equality between
two strings or numbers.  They are a special case of expression patterns
(see Expressions as Patterns: Expression Patterns.).  They are written
with "relational operators", which are a superset of those in C.  Here
is a table of them:

`X < Y'
     True if X is less than Y.

`X <= Y'
     True if X is less than or equal to Y.

`X > Y'
     True if X is greater than Y.

`X >= Y'
     True if X is greater than or equal to Y.

`X == Y'
     True if X is equal to Y.

`X != Y'
     True if X is not equal to Y.

`X ~ Y'
     True if X matches the regular expression described by Y.

`X !~ Y'
     True if X does not match the regular expression described by Y.

   The operands of a relational operator are compared as numbers if they
are both numbers.  Otherwise they are converted to, and compared as,
strings (see Conversion of Strings and Numbers: Conversion., for the
detailed rules).  Strings are compared by comparing the first character
of each, then the second character of each, and so on, until there is a
difference.  If the two strings are equal until the shorter one runs
out, the shorter one is considered to be less than the longer one.
Thus, `"10"' is less than `"9"', and `"abc"' is less than `"abcd"'.

   The left operand of the `~' and `!~' operators is a string.  The
right operand is either a constant regular expression enclosed in
slashes (`/REGEXP/'), or any expression, whose string value is used as
a dynamic regular expression (see How to Use Regular Expressions: Regexp Usage.).

   The following example prints the second field of each input record
whose first field is precisely `foo'.

     awk '$1 == "foo" { print $2 }' BBS-list

Contrast this with the following regular expression match, which would
accept any record with a first field that contains `foo':

     awk '$1 ~ "foo" { print $2 }' BBS-list

or, equivalently, this one:

     awk '$1 ~ /foo/ { print $2 }' BBS-list