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Understanding the `command` Command in Linux

In Linux and other Unix-like operating systems, the command command is a shell builtin that allows you to execute a simple command with a specified name. It can be especially helpful when you want to bypass any function or alias that might override the actual command. This article will guide you through the syntax, options, and examples to help you master the use of the command command in Linux.


The basic syntax for the command command is as follows:

command [options] command_name [arguments]

Here, command_name is the name of the command you want to run, and arguments are any additional parameters or options you want to pass to that command.


The command command supports a few options, which can be quite handy in various scenarios. Here is a table summarizing these options:

--helpN/ADisplay a help message.
--versionN/ADisplay version information.
-pN/AUse a default value for PATH that guarantees to find all of the standard utilities.
-vN/AVerbose mode. Writes a string to stdout that contains the command name and the command arguments.
-VN/AWrites a string to stdout that contains the command name and how it was resolved.

Examples of Usage

1. Simple Execution

To simply execute a command without any interference from aliases or functions, you can use:

command ls

2. Bypassing an Alias

Imagine you have an alias for ls that looks like this:

alias ls='ls -al'

Using the command command, you can bypass this alias:

command ls

This will execute the plain ls command, without the -al options.

3. Using the -p Option

The -p option ensures that you run the command with a standard PATH, bypassing any custom paths that could interfere with the default behavior. For example:

command -p ls

4. Verbose Output with -v

This will show the verbose output, describing the command name and its arguments:

command -v ls

5. Detailed Description with -V

This will print a description of how the ls command is being interpreted:

command -V ls

6. Combining Options

You can also combine different options, although not all combinations are logically meaningful:

command -p -v ls


The command command in Linux is a powerful utility to execute commands while bypassing shell functions and aliases. Understanding its syntax and options can help you in scenarios where you need to ensure that a command runs in its original form without any custom alterations. With this guide, you should have a robust understanding of how to use the command command effectively in Linux.

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