http://www.perlmonks.org?node_id=73571


in reply to hash size

Another point from perldata. It could be useful for a certain definition of size :)...
If you evaluate a hash in a scalar context, it returns a value which is true if and only if the hash contains any key/value pairs. (If there are any key/value pairs, the value returned is a string consisting of the number of used buckets and the number of allocated buckets, separated by a slash. This is pretty much useful only to find out whether Perl's (compiled in) hashing algorithm is performing poorly on your data set. For example, you stick 10,000 things in a hash, but evaluating %HASH in scalar context reveals "1/16", which means only one out of sixteen buckets has been touched, and presumably contains all 10,000 of your items. This isn't supposed to happen.)