13.1.17 DROP TABLE Syntax

    tbl_name [, tbl_name] ...

DROP TABLE removes one or more tables. You must have the DROP privilege for each table. All table data and the table definition are removed, so be careful with this statement! If any of the tables named in the argument list do not exist, MySQL returns an error indicating by name which nonexisting tables it was unable to drop, but it also drops all of the tables in the list that do exist.


When a table is dropped, user privileges on the table are not automatically dropped. See Section, “GRANT Syntax”.

Use IF EXISTS to prevent an error from occurring for tables that do not exist. A NOTE is generated for each nonexistent table when using IF EXISTS. See Section, “SHOW WARNINGS Syntax”.

RESTRICT and CASCADE are permitted to make porting easier. In MySQL 5.0, they do nothing.


DROP TABLE automatically commits the current active transaction, unless you use the TEMPORARY keyword.

The TEMPORARY keyword has the following effects:

  • The statement drops only TEMPORARY tables.

  • The statement does not end an ongoing transaction.

  • No access rights are checked. (A TEMPORARY table is visible only to the session that created it, so no check is necessary.)

Using TEMPORARY is a good way to ensure that you do not accidentally drop a non-TEMPORARY table.

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User Comments
  Posted by Pankaj Khanna on March 26, 2006
An example to drop tables having parent-child relationship is to drop the child tables first and then the parent tables. This can be very helpful when we drop tables and then recreate them in a script.

Let's say table A has two children B and C. Then we can use the following syntax to drop all tables.


This can be placed in the beginning of the script instead
of individually dropping each table (somewhat but not exactly similar to CASCADE CONSTRAINTS option in Oracle).
  Posted by David Andersen on August 31, 2007
Just found an excellent library, which allows dropping multiple tables using syntax similar to "drop table like 'sales%'". The library can also do some multi-purpose Dynamic SQL.

You can read about the specific syntax at: http://datacharmer.blogspot.com/2005/12/mysql-5-general-purpose-routine.html

It can be downloaded from https://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=166288
  Posted by Malcolm Ke (kexianbin@diyism.com) on September 23, 2008
Guy, "drop tables like" could be realized thus:
delimiter $$
create procedure drop_tables_like(pattern varchar(255), db varchar(255))
select @str_sql:=concat('drop table ', group_concat(table_name))
from information_schema.tables
where table_schema=db and table_name like pattern;

prepare stmt from @str_sql;
execute stmt;
drop prepare stmt;

call drop_tables_like('kw_%', 'db_1')$$

drop procedure if exists drop_tables_like$$
delimiter ;
  Posted by Morgan Christiansson on November 22, 2008
It's also possible to do DROP TABLE LIKE 'tableprefix%' using the free software maatkit tool from http://www.maatkit.org/

mk-find --dblike "dbname" --tbllike "tableprefix%" --exec_plus "DROP TABLE %s"
  Posted by Jonathan Watt on May 28, 2009
To drop ALL tables in your database (fill out the first line as appropriate):

$MYSQL -BNe "show tables" | awk '{print "set foreign_key_checks=0; drop table `" $1 "`;"}' | $MYSQL
unset MYSQL

This can be useful if you need to empty a database in order to restore a backup made by mysqldump, but you couldn't use --add-drop-database because you don't have CREATE DATABASE privileges on the command line (e.g. you're on shared hosting). mysqldump adds DROP TABLE by default, but if tables may have been added or renamed since the time of your backup (e.g. by some sort of update process that you're trying to revert from), failing to drop those tables will likely cause serious headaches later on.

Of course this raises the question of why MySQL doesn't support "DROP TABLE *;" (in which case mysqldump could just insert that)?
  Posted by Oliver Frick on August 22, 2011
You can use "show tables from mysqldb1 like 'name%' "
And then copy paste into a text editor and build a comma separated list to feed "drop table "... For me this is faster than write the procedure :)
  Posted by Peter Hine on May 7, 2012
for table in `echo show tables in piwik\; | mysql | grep piwik_archive_`;do echo drop table $table\; | mysql -D piwik; done

linux example for removing all the archive tables in a database called piwik to simulate the "drop table like 'piwik_archive_%'" example above
  Posted by Brendan Byrd on July 22, 2015
It should be noted that the TEMPORARY keyword is also allowed on slave servers, especially non-existent temporary tables. For example, if 'tempo' is an existing temp table for a non-admin user on a slave:

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

ERROR 1290 (HY000): The MySQL server is running with the --read-only option so it cannot execute this statement

Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.00 sec)

MySQL knows that the DROP is for a temp table if the table exists, but assumes that the DROP is for a non-temp table if the table doesn't exist, unless the TEMPORARY keyword is used.

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