Basename Command in Linux


2 min read

Linux basename Command

basename is a command-line utility that strips directory and trailing suffix from given file names.

Using the basename Command

The basename command supports two syntax formats:

basename NAME [SUFFIX]
basename OPTION... NAME...

basename takes a filename and prints the last component of the filename. Optionally, it can also remove any trailing suffix. It is a simple command that accepts only a few options.

The most basic example is to print the file name with the leading directories removed:

basename /etc/passwd

The output will include the file name:


The basename command removes any trailing / characters:

basename /usr/local/basename /usr/local

Both commands will produce the same output:


By default, each output line ends in a newline character. To end the lines with NUL, use the -z (--zero) option.

Multiple Inputs

The basename command can accept multiple names as arguments. To do so, invoke the command with the -a (--multiple) option, followed by the list of files separated by space.

For example, to get the file names of /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow you would run:

basename -a /etc/passwd /etc/shadow

Removing a Trailing Suffix

To remove any trailing suffix from the file name, pass the suffix as a second argument:

basename /etc/hostname name

Generally, this feature is used to strip file extensions:

basename /etc/sysctl.conf .conf

Another way to remove a trailing suffix is to specify the suffix with the -s (--suffix=SUFFIX) option:

basename -s .conf /etc/sysctl.conf

This syntax form allows you to strip any trailing suffix from multiple names:

basename -a -s .conf /etc/sysctl.conf /etc/sudo.conf


The following example shows how to use the basename command inside a bash for loop to rename all files ending with “.jpeg” in the current directory by replacing the file extension from “.jpeg” to “.jpg”:

for file in *.jpeg; do
    mv -- "$file" "$(basename $file .jpeg).jpg"

If you are using bash as your shell, instead of invoking basename, you can use strip the trailing extension using Shell Parameter Expansion .


The basename command strips any leading directory and trailing suffix from the name.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment.