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basename is a standard UNIX computer program. When basename is given a pathname, it will delete any prefix up to the last slash ('/') character and return the result. basename is described in the Single UNIX Specification and is primarily used in shell scripts.


The Single UNIX Specification specification for basename is.

basename string [suffix]
A pathname
If specified, basename will also delete the suffix.


basename will retrieve the last name from a pathname ignoring any trailing slashes

$ basename /home/jsmith/
$ basename /home/jsmith/
$ basename /

basename can also be used to remove the end of the base name, but not the complete base name

$ basename /home/jsmith/ .wiki
$ basename /home/jsmith/ ki
$ basename /home/jsmith/


Since basename accepts only one operand, its usage within the inner loop of shell scripts can be detrimental to performance. Consider

 while read file; do
   basename "$file" ;
 done < ''some-input''

The above excerpt would cause a separate process invocation for each line of input. For this reason, shell substitution is typically used instead

 echo "${file##*/}";

Note that this handles trailing slashes differently than basename.

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