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9.1.3 Date and Time Literals

Date and time values can be represented in several formats, such as quoted strings or as numbers, depending on the exact type of the value and other factors. For example, in contexts where MySQL expects a date, it interprets any of '2015-07-21', '20150721', and 20150721 as a date.

This section describes the acceptable formats for date and time literals. For more information about the temporal data types, such as the range of permitted values, consult these sections:

Standard SQL and ODBC Date and Time Literals. Standard SQL permits temporal literals to be specified using a type keyword and a string. The space between the keyword and string is optional.

DATE 'str'
TIME 'str'
TIMESTAMP 'str'

MySQL recognizes those constructions and also the corresponding ODBC syntax:

{ d 'str' }
{ t 'str' }
{ ts 'str' }

However, MySQL ignores the type keyword and each of the preceding constructions produces the string value 'str', with a type of VARCHAR.

String and Numeric Literals in Date and Time Context. MySQL recognizes DATE values in these formats:

  • As a string in either 'YYYY-MM-DD' or 'YY-MM-DD' format. A relaxed syntax is permitted: Any punctuation character may be used as the delimiter between date parts. For example, '2012-12-31', '2012/12/31', '2012^12^31', and '2012@12@31' are equivalent.

  • As a string with no delimiters in either 'YYYYMMDD' or 'YYMMDD' format, provided that the string makes sense as a date. For example, '20070523' and '070523' are interpreted as '2007-05-23', but '071332' is illegal (it has nonsensical month and day parts) and becomes '0000-00-00'.

  • As a number in either YYYYMMDD or YYMMDD format, provided that the number makes sense as a date. For example, 19830905 and 830905 are interpreted as '1983-09-05'.

MySQL recognizes DATETIME and TIMESTAMP values in these formats:

  • As a string in either 'YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS' or 'YY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS' format. A relaxed syntax is permitted here, too: Any punctuation character may be used as the delimiter between date parts or time parts. For example, '2012-12-31 11:30:45', '2012^12^31 11+30+45', '2012/12/31 11*30*45', and '2012@12@31 11^30^45' are equivalent.

    The date and time parts can be separated by T rather than a space. For example, '2012-12-31 11:30:45' '2012-12-31T11:30:45' are equivalent.

  • As a string with no delimiters in either 'YYYYMMDDHHMMSS' or 'YYMMDDHHMMSS' format, provided that the string makes sense as a date. For example, '20070523091528' and '070523091528' are interpreted as '2007-05-23 09:15:28', but '071122129015' is illegal (it has a nonsensical minute part) and becomes '0000-00-00 00:00:00'.

  • As a number in either YYYYMMDDHHMMSS or YYMMDDHHMMSS format, provided that the number makes sense as a date. For example, 19830905132800 and 830905132800 are interpreted as '1983-09-05 13:28:00'.

A DATETIME or TIMESTAMP value can include a trailing fractional seconds part in up to microseconds (6 digits) precision. Although this fractional part is recognized, it is discarded from values stored into DATETIME or TIMESTAMP columns. For information about fractional seconds support in MySQL, see Section 11.3.6, “Fractional Seconds in Time Values”.

Dates containing two-digit year values are ambiguous because the century is unknown. MySQL interprets two-digit year values using these rules:

  • Year values in the range 70-99 are converted to 1970-1999.

  • Year values in the range 00-69 are converted to 2000-2069.

See also Section 11.3.8, “Two-Digit Years in Dates”.

For values specified as strings that include date part delimiters, it is unnecessary to specify two digits for month or day values that are less than 10. '2015-6-9' is the same as '2015-06-09'. Similarly, for values specified as strings that include time part delimiters, it is unnecessary to specify two digits for hour, minute, or second values that are less than 10. '2015-10-30 1:2:3' is the same as '2015-10-30 01:02:03'.

Values specified as numbers should be 6, 8, 12, or 14 digits long. If a number is 8 or 14 digits long, it is assumed to be in YYYYMMDD or YYYYMMDDHHMMSS format and that the year is given by the first 4 digits. If the number is 6 or 12 digits long, it is assumed to be in YYMMDD or YYMMDDHHMMSS format and that the year is given by the first 2 digits. Numbers that are not one of these lengths are interpreted as though padded with leading zeros to the closest length.

Values specified as nondelimited strings are interpreted according their length. For a string 8 or 14 characters long, the year is assumed to be given by the first 4 characters. Otherwise, the year is assumed to be given by the first 2 characters. The string is interpreted from left to right to find year, month, day, hour, minute, and second values, for as many parts as are present in the string. This means you should not use strings that have fewer than 6 characters. For example, if you specify '9903', thinking that represents March, 1999, MySQL converts it to the zero date value. This occurs because the year and month values are 99 and 03, but the day part is completely missing. However, you can explicitly specify a value of zero to represent missing month or day parts. For example, to insert the value '1999-03-00', use '990300'.

MySQL recognizes TIME values in these formats:

  • As a string in 'D HH:MM:SS' format. You can also use one of the following relaxed syntaxes: 'HH:MM:SS', 'HH:MM', 'D HH:MM', 'D HH', or 'SS'. Here D represents days and can have a value from 0 to 34.

  • As a string with no delimiters in 'HHMMSS' format, provided that it makes sense as a time. For example, '101112' is understood as '10:11:12', but '109712' is illegal (it has a nonsensical minute part) and becomes '00:00:00'.

  • As a number in HHMMSS format, provided that it makes sense as a time. For example, 101112 is understood as '10:11:12'. The following alternative formats are also understood: SS, MMSS, or HHMMSS.

A trailing fractional seconds part is recognized in the 'D HH:MM:SS.fraction', 'HH:MM:SS.fraction', 'HHMMSS.fraction', and HHMMSS.fraction time formats, where fraction is the fractional part in up to microseconds (6 digits) precision. Although this fractional part is recognized, it is discarded from values stored into TIME columns. For information about fractional seconds support in MySQL, see Section 11.3.6, “Fractional Seconds in Time Values”.

For TIME values specified as strings that include a time part delimiter, it is unnecessary to specify two digits for hours, minutes, or seconds values that are less than 10. '8:3:2' is the same as '08:03:02'.


User Comments
  Posted by Hartmut Holzgraefe on February 26, 2013
Be aware that "punctuation character" is a collation specific attribute, e.g. "2012/01/01" will be interpreted as 2012-01-01 with western language collations but not when using e.g. Japanese sjis ...
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