Bash Arguments

- You can use $_ or !$ to recall the last argument of the previous command.
- Also, if you want an arbitrary argument, you can use !!:1, !!:2, etc. (!!:0 is the previous command itself.) !:1-2 !:10-12
- Similar to !$, you use !^ for the first argument.
- !$ - last argument from previous command
- !^ - first argument (after the program/built-in/script) from previous command
- !! - previous command (often pronounced "bang bang")
- !n - command number n from history
- !pattern - most recent command matching pattern
- !!:s/find/replace - last command, substitute find with replace
- Use following to take the second argument from the third command in the history,
- Use following to take the third argument from the fifth last command in the history,
- !* runs a new command with all previous arguments.

Event Designators

An event designator is a reference to a command line entry in the history list. Unless the reference is absolute, events are relative to the current position in the history list.


Start a history substitution, except when followed by a space, tab, the end of the line, ‘=’ or ‘(’ (when the extglob shell option is enabled using the shopt builtin).

Refer to command line n.

Refer to the command n lines back.

Refer to the previous command. This is a synonym for ‘!-1’.

Refer to the most recent command preceding the current position in the history list starting with string.

Refer to the most recent command preceding the current position in the history list containing string. The trailing ‘?’ may be omitted if the string is followed immediately by a newline.

Quick Substitution. Repeat the last command, replacing string1 with string2. Equivalent to !!:s/string1/string2/.

The entire command line typed so far.

Next: Modifiers, Previous: Event Designators, Up: History Interaction [Contents][Index]
9.3.2 Word Designators

Word designators are used to select desired words from the event. A ‘:’ separates the event specification from the word designator. It may be omitted if the word designator begins with a ‘^’, ‘$’, ‘*’, ‘-’, or ‘%’. Words are numbered from the beginning of the line, with the first word being denoted by 0 (zero). Words are inserted into the current line separated by single spaces.

For example,


designates the preceding command. When you type this, the preceding command is repeated in toto.

designates the last argument of the preceding command. This may be shortened to !$.

designates the second argument of the most recent command starting with the letters fi.

Here are the word designators:

0 (zero)

The 0th word. For many applications, this is the command word.

The nth word.

The first argument; that is, word 1.

The last argument.

The word matched by the most recent ‘?string?’ search.

A range of words; ‘-y’ abbreviates ‘0-y’.

All of the words, except the 0th. This is a synonym for ‘1-$’. It is not an error to use ‘*’ if there is just one word in the event; the empty string is returned in that case.

Abbreviates ‘x-$’

Abbreviates ‘x-$’ like ‘x*’, but omits the last word.

If a word designator is supplied without an event specification, the previous command is used as the event.


After the optional word designator, you can add a sequence of one or more of the following modifiers, each preceded by a ‘:’.


Remove a trailing pathname component, leaving only the head.

Remove all leading pathname components, leaving the tail.

Remove a trailing suffix of the form ‘.suffix’, leaving the basename.

Remove all but the trailing suffix.

Print the new command but do not execute it.

Quote the substituted words, escaping further substitutions.

Quote the substituted words as with ‘q’, but break into words at spaces, tabs, and newlines.

Substitute new for the first occurrence of old in the event line. Any delimiter may be used in place of ‘/’. The delimiter may be quoted in old and new with a single backslash. If ‘&’ appears in new, it is replaced by old. A single backslash will quote the ‘&’. The final delimiter is optional if it is the last character on the input line.

Repeat the previous substitution.

Cause changes to be applied over the entire event line. Used in conjunction with ‘s’, as in gs/old/new/, or with ‘&’.

Apply the following ‘s’ modifier once to each word in the event.


2019-04-16 21:56:19


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