Initial releaseJanuary 1979; 45 years ago (1979-01)
Written inC
Operating systemUnix, Unix-like, Plan 9, Inferno
Licensecoreutils: GPLv3+
Plan 9: MIT License

basename is a standard computer program on Unix and Unix-like operating systems. 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.


basename was introduced in X/Open Portability Guidelines issue 2 of 1987. It was inherited into the first version of POSIX and the Single Unix Specification.[1] It first appeared in 4.4BSD.[2]

The version of basename bundled in GNU coreutils was written by David MacKenzie.[3]

The command is available as a separate package for Microsoft Windows as part of the GnuWin32 project[4] and the UnxUtils collection of native Win32 ports of common GNU Unix-like utilities.[5]


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/

See also


  1. ^ basename – Shell and Utilities Reference, The Single UNIX Specification, Version 4 from The Open Group
  2. ^ basename(1) – FreeBSD General Commands Manual
  3. ^ basename(1) – Linux User Manual – User Commands
  4. ^ CoreUtils for Windows
  5. ^ Native Win32 ports of some GNU utilities