Linux command: dirname

The Linux command, dirname strips the last component from a given file name.

The dirname is a built-in command and it will output, the complete directory tree; except for the name of the file.

This article shows the usage of dirname command with example.

It simply strips the last part of a file name(after the last forward-slash /) and gives the remaining part containing the name of the directory where that file is saved.

The dirname command

It can be used to identify paths in the shell scripts.


dirname [OPTION] NAME...


  • -z, --zero

    End each output line with NUL, not newline

  • --help

    Exits after displaying the help

  • --version

    Exits after displaying version information

Example 1

dirname /home/meshworld/Documents/IntroToUbuntu.docx
# Output -> /home/meshworld/Documents

dirname /home/meshworld/Music/
# Output -> /home/meshworld/Music

dirname DummiesForLinux.pdf
# Output -> .

Example 2

We can also extract the path info and save the result into another variable.

directoryPath=$(dirname $filePath)

echo "File path: $filePath"
echo "Directory path: $directoryPath"


File path: /home/meshworld/Pictures/TajMahal.jpg
Directory path: /home/meshworld/Pictures


The dirname command comes handy when we need to retrieve path, where the file exists.

Hope you like this!

Keep helping and happy 😄 coding

Vishnu Damwala
Vishnu Damwala

A web geek, an industry experienced web developer & tutor/instructor residing in India 🇮🇳