In programming, an array is a fundamental data structure that represents a collection of elements (values or variables), each identified by one or more indexes. Arrays store elements in a contiguous block of memory, allowing for the efficient storage and rapid access of items. They are used to hold multiple values under a single name and can be of various types, such as integers, strings, or objects. Arrays are essential for managing large sets of data, enabling operations like sorting and searching. In many programming languages, arrays have a fixed size, and their elements are usually of the same data type, providing a simple yet powerful way to organize data for processing.