Remove a file whose name begins with a dash ( - ) character

rm ./-filename
Using the redundant ./ directory information prevents the dash from occurring at the beginning of the filename, and being interpreted as an option of the rm command. Also works using: rm -- -filename
Sample Output
$ touch ./-filename
$ rm "-filename"
rm: invalid option -- l
$ rm ./-filename

By: starchox
2009-02-18 18:36:25

What Others Think

Not to be a dick, or anything, but this really is nothing too special.. it is basic shell usage...
ozymandias · 657 weeks and 5 days ago
imho `rm -- -filename` is a better choice and using "--" has the added benefit of working with cmds other than "rm"
foetalminde · 657 weeks and 5 days ago
I prefer "--" by far too, as it's portable to most other commands.
raphink · 657 weeks and 4 days ago
I tend to escape, or quote things like this.
ozymandias · 657 weeks and 4 days ago
how would you escape that not using -- ?
TheBunman · 657 weeks and 4 days ago
touch \- ls \- rm \- works
grep · 657 weeks and 4 days ago
grep -- exactly.
ozymandias · 657 weeks and 4 days ago
vigo · 601 weeks and 5 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this? is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Share Your Commands

Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.


Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for: