type (Unix)

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Initial release1984; 35 years ago (1984)
Operating systemUnix and Unix-like

In Unix and Unix-like operating systems, type is a command that describes how its arguments would be interpreted if used as command names.


Where applicable, type will display the command name's path. Possible command types are:

The command returns a non-zero exit status if command names cannot be found.


$ type test
test is a shell builtin
$ type cp
cp is /bin/cp
$ type unknown
unknown not found
$ type type
type is a shell builtin


The type command was a shell builtin for Bourne shell that was introduced in AT&T's System V Release 2 (SVR2) in 1984,[1] and continues to be included in many other POSIX-compatible shells such as Bash. However, type is not part of the POSIX standard. With a POSIX shell, similar behavior is retrieved with

command -V name

In the Korn shell, the command whence provides similar functionality.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "traditional Bourne shell family / history and development". www.in-ulm.de. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  2. ^ Siever, Ellen (2005). Linux in a Nutshell. Nutshell handbooks. O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 695. ISBN 9780596009304. Retrieved 2016-07-05. whence [...] Korn shell only. Show whether each command is a Unix command, a built-in command, a defined shell function, or an alias.