CLI – whatis


CLI – As mentioned before, every command line command has a descriptive man page entry that you can access. That is often a very long and detailed description of the command and all of the possible options available to it.

Sometimes you just want a quick explanation as to what a command does. This is where the whatis command is useful. It will return a one line description of the command being referenced.

The description of whatis in the macOS man page is:

whatis searches a set of database files containing short descriptions of system commands for keywords and displays the result on the standard output.  Only complete word matches are displayed.

To learn a lot more about how to use whatis, take a look at “Linux whatis Command Tutorial for Beginners (5 Examples)“. Yes, this is a Linux article, but the whatis command as implemented on macOS is fundamentally the same. Check the macOS man page for whatis for all of the available options.

See my other CLI and macOS articles


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