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DIRNAME(1) General Commands Manual DIRNAME(1)

return directory portion of pathname

dirname pathname

dirname deletes the filename portion, beginning with the last slash (‘/’) character to the end of pathname, and writes the result to the standard output.

The dirname utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

The following line sets the shell variable FOO to /usr/bin:

FOO=`dirname /usr/bin/tail`

basename(1), csh(1), sh(1), dirname(3)

The dirname utility is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”) specification.

The dirname utility first appeared as an expr(1) script in AT&T System III UNIX. It was reimplemented in C for 4.3BSD-Reno and reimplemented again using dirname(3) for OpenBSD 2.2.

The original BSD version was written by Keith Bostic. The current OpenBSD version was written by Todd Miller <>.
February 16, 2014 OpenBSD-current