In computer programming, a global variable is a variable with global scope, meaning that it is visible (hence accessible) throughout the program, unless shadowed. The set of all global variables is known as the global environment or global state. In compiled languages, global variables are generally static variables, whose extent (lifetime) is the entire runtime of the program, though in interpreted languages (including command-line interpreters), global variables are generally dynamically allocated when declared, since they are not known ahead of time.
In some languages, all variables are global, or global by default, while in most modern languages variables have limited scope, generally lexical scope, though global variables are often available by declaring a variable at the top level of the program. In other languages, however, global variables do not exist; these are generally modular programming languages that enforce a module structure, or class-based object-oriented programming languages that enforce a class structure.