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Table of contents
What is a Delimiter in MySQL?
Example of Delimiter
Why do We Need Delimiter?
Why are Delimiters Necessary?
How to Change the Delimiter?
When and Where should I Use Delimiter?
Using MySQL DELIMITER for Stored Procedures
Advantages of Delimiter
Disadvantages of Delimiter
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need a delimiter in MySQL?
What do you understand by a stored procedure in MySQL?
Can stored procedures return values in MySQL?
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2024

What is a Delimiter In MySQL

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Prerita Agarwal
Data Specialist @
23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


Hello Ninjas, we all know that in SQL, we can end a SQL statement by using a semicolon(;). But the thing is, we don’t know what we call it and why it is used. Don’t worry, Ninjas. We will help you to clear all your doubts.

what is delimiter in mysql?

In this blog, we will discuss what is a delimiter in MySQL. We will also understand its examples, its advantages, and disadvantages. Delimiter is a sequence of characters in which a symbol is used to end a particular MySQL statement. It is primarily used in stored procedures in MySQL. Before diving into the main topic, let us understand what stored procedures are in MySQL.

What is a Delimiter in MySQL?

Delimiter helps to create the stored procedure. It is a special character that we can use to end a MySQL statement. This special character can be //, $$, @@, etc. It separates individual statements within a larger script, query, or stored procedure, allowing MySQL to interpret and execute them correctly.

Default Delimiter: The default delimiter is a semicolon (;) in MySQL. It is used to represent the end of an SQL statement. When we try to create a stored procedure with a semicolon, it can cause errors. We have also seen an example of an error above.

The main reason for the error is that MySQL only interprets the first semicolon. The next semicolon will be treated as another statement. That's why the procedure’s body throws syntax errors and other errors.

Let us try to create the stored procedure for the above example using delimiters.

Example of Delimiter

Let us consider the above example and create the stored procedure.

USE `storedprocedure`$$
CREATE DEFINER=`root`@`localhost` PROCEDURE `GetNameOfCourse`()
SELECT Ninja_Name, Ninja_Age
    FROM Ninjas
    WHERE Course_Enrolled = "Java Fullstack";


Now we will execute the procedure:

CALL GetNameOfNinja;

We will see:

output of stored procedure using delimiter
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Why do We Need Delimiter?

  • Data Separation: Delimiters help separate data fields within a dataset, making it easier to parse and process information.
  • File Formatting: Delimiters define the structure of files, facilitating uniformity and standardization in data storage and exchange.
  • Compatibility: Delimiters ensure compatibility across different systems and applications by providing a common format for data representation.
  • Error Prevention: Delimiters help prevent errors by clearly delineating the boundaries between data elements, reducing ambiguity in interpretation.
  • Flexibility: Delimiters offer flexibility in data organization, allowing for the inclusion of various types of data within a single dataset.

Why are Delimiters Necessary?

Delimiters are used for various purposes. It can be used while creating stored procedures, triggers, database objects, functions, etc. There are several reasons to answer why delimiters are necessary:

  • They help to write clear and understandable SQL statements. Using this, we can deliver clean code.
  • They help us to encapsulate complex SQL statements. These complex statements can be stored procedures, triggers, etc. These statements require loops and conditional statements.
  • When we have multiple statements in SQL, we cannot use a semicolon(;). In multiple statements, we can use delimiters.
  • They help us to prevent the premature execution of SQL statements within a code block.

How to Change the Delimiter?

To change the delimiter in programming languages like SQL, you typically use special commands or directives provided by the language or its associated tools. For example, in MySQL, you can change the delimiter using the DELIMITER command followed by the desired delimiter character.

When and Where should I Use Delimiter?

  • Data Storage: Use delimiters when storing structured data in files or databases to delineate different fields or records.
  • Data Transmission: Employ delimiters when transmitting data between systems or applications to ensure clear demarcation of data elements.
  • Text Processing: Utilize delimiters in text processing tasks such as parsing or tokenization to separate and manipulate textual data efficiently.
  • Protocol Design: Incorporate delimiters in protocol design to define message boundaries and facilitate communication between networked systems.

Using MySQL DELIMITER for Stored Procedures

  • Syntax Change: Use DELIMITER to change the default delimiter (;) in MySQL to define the beginning and end of stored procedures.
  • Avoiding Syntax Errors: Changing the delimiter helps avoid syntax errors within the body of stored procedures, which often contain multiple SQL statements.
  • Setting Custom Delimiters: You can set custom delimiters (e.g., $$) to encapsulate the entire stored procedure body, allowing for the inclusion of semicolons within the procedure's SQL statements without prematurely terminating them.

Advantages of Delimiter

There are several advantages of delimiter in MySQL:

  • Provides Statement Separation: It can give a clear way to separate the different MySQL statements. 
  • Provides Better Code Organization: It allows developers to structure SQL code into logical units. It helps us to break long scripts into smaller statements.
  • Helps to Deal With Complex Code Handling: It really helps to handle complex code structures, such as stored procedures, triggers, or multi-line statements. 
  • Temporary Delimiter Redefinition: The ability to temporarily redefine the delimiter within code blocks provides flexibility in handling complex SQL statements or nested constructs. 

Disadvantages of Delimiter

Along with the advantages, it also has some disadvantages:

  • Tends to Delimiting Overhead: The more delimiters present in the code add overhead in terms of character usage and potentially increase the size of scripts. 
  • Syntax Mistakes can HappenIncorrect usage or placement of delimiters can lead to syntax errors. 
  • Not for Beginners: Before using delimiters in MySQL, you should understand the breakdown of MySQL statements. Directly jumping on to delimiter can be challenging.
  • Creates Confusion: The use of custom delimiters, while providing flexibility, may introduce confusion if not properly documented or adhered to consistently within a team. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a delimiter in MySQL?

Delimiters are used in stored procedures in MySQL. The default delimiter is used to represent the end of a statement in SQL, i.e., semicolon(;).

What do you understand by a stored procedure in MySQL?

A stored procedure is a SQL code block that is stored in a database. We can use a stored procedure repeatedly. It includes control flow logic, variables, parameters, loops, and other programming logic.

Can stored procedures return values in MySQL?

Yes, a stored procedure can return values in MySQL. It uses output parameters or result sets to return the values. Output parameters can be defined in the procedure's parameter list, and their values can be assigned within the procedure. 


In this article, we have discussed what is a delimiter in MySQL. We have also discussed some examples. You can check out our other blogs to enhance your knowledge:

We hope this blog helped you to understand what is a delimiter in MySQL. You can refer to our guided paths on the Coding Ninjas Studio platform. You can check our course to learn more about DSADBMSCompetitive ProgrammingPythonJavaJavaScript, etc. 

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