linear search


Definition: Search an array or list by checking items one at a time.

Also known as sequential search.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
transpose sequential search.

Aggregate child (... is a part of or used in me.)
move-to-front heuristic.

See also binary search, hash table.

Note: Average run time is Θ (n/2) when the item is found.

Author: PEB



More information

expected time. Demonstration.

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 16 November 2009.
HTML page formatted Mon Feb 2 13:10:39 2015.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "linear search", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 16 November 2009. (accessed TODAY) Available from: