Manual Page Search Parameters

APROPOS(1) General Commands Manual APROPOS(1)

locate commands by keyword lookup

apropos [-C file] [-M path] [-m path] [-S subsection] [-s section] keyword ...

apropos shows which manual pages contain instances of any of the given keyword(s) in their title line. Each word is considered separately and case of letters is ignored. Words which are part of other words are considered; when looking for “compile”, apropos will also list all instances of “compiler”.

If the line output by apropos starts “name (section) ...”, you can enter “man section name” to get its documentation.

The options are as follows:

Specify an alternative configuration file in man.conf(5) format.
Override the list of standard directories apropos searches for a database named whatis.db. The supplied path must be a colon (‘:’) separated list of directories. This search path may also be set using the environment variable MANPATH.
Augment the list of standard directories apropos searches for its database. The supplied path must be a colon (‘:’) separated list of directories. These directories will be searched before the standard directories, or the directories supplied with the -M option or the MANPATH environment variable.
Restrict the search to pages for the specified machine architecture. By default, pages for all architectures are shown.
Restrict the search to the specified section of the manual. By default, pages from all sections are shown.

The standard search path used by man(1) may be overridden by specifying a path in the MANPATH environment variable. The format of the path is a colon (‘:’) separated list of directories.

name of the apropos database
default man(1) configuration file

man(1), whatis(1), whereis(1), man.conf(5), makewhatis(8)

The apropos command first appeared in 2BSD.

The -M option and the MANPATH variable first appeared in 4.3BSD; -m in 4.3BSD-Reno; -C in 4.4BSD-Lite1; and -s and -S in OpenBSD 4.5.

Bill Joy wrote the original BSD apropos in February 1979.
January 22, 2012 OpenBSD-5.1