MV(1) General Commands Manual MV(1)
mv - move files
mv [-fiv] source target
mv [-fiv] source ... directory
In its first form, the mv utility moves the file named by the source
operand to the destination path named by the target operand. This form
is assumed when the last operand does not name an already existing
In its second form, mv moves each file named by a source operand to the
destination specified by the directory operand. It is an error if the
directory does not exist. The destination path for each source operand
is the pathname produced by the concatenation of the directory operand, a
slash, and the final pathname component of the named file.
In both forms, a source operand is skipped with an error message when the
respective destination path is a non-empty directory, or when the source
is a non-directory file but the destination path is a directory, or vice
The options are as follows:
-f Do not prompt for confirmation before overwriting the destination
path. The -f option overrides any previous -i options.
-i Causes mv to write a prompt to standard error before moving a
file that would overwrite an existing file. If the response from
the standard input begins with the character "y", the move is
attempted. The -i option overrides any previous -f options.
-v Display the source and destination after each move.
The mv utility moves symbolic links, not the files referenced by the
If the destination path does not have a mode which permits writing, mv
prompts the user for confirmation as specified for the -i option.
Should the rename(2) call fail because the source and destination are on
different file systems, mv will use cp(1) and rm(1) to accomplish the
move. The effect is equivalent to:
$ rm -df -- destination_path && \
cp -PRp -- source destination_path && \
rm -rf -- source
The mv utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
Rename file foo to bar, overwriting bar if it already exists:
$ mv -f foo bar
Either of these commands will rename the file -f to bar, prompting for
confirmation if bar already exists:
$ mv -i -- -f bar
$ mv -i ./-f bar
cp(1), rm(1), rename(2), symlink(7)
The mv utility is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 ("POSIX.1")
The flag [-v] is an extension to that specification.
A mv command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
In the second synopsis form, incompatible file types in source and
directory cause partial moves. For example, if f and g are non-directory
files and d and d/f are directories, the command
$ mv f g d
will print an error message, leave f where it is, move g to d/g and
return a non-zero exit status.
OpenBSD 6.2 June 28, 2017 OpenBSD 6.2
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