mv - Man Page

move (rename) files

Examples (TL;DR)




Rename SOURCE to DEST, or move SOURCE(s) to DIRECTORY.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.


make a backup of each existing destination file


like --backup but does not accept an argument


explain how a file is copied.  Implies -v

-f,  --force

do not prompt before overwriting

-i,  --interactive

prompt before overwrite

-n,  --no-clobber

do not overwrite an existing file

If you specify more than one of -i, -f, -n, only the final one takes effect.


do not copy if renaming fails


remove any trailing slashes from each SOURCE argument

-S,  --suffix=SUFFIX

override the usual backup suffix

-t,  --target-directory=DIRECTORY

move all SOURCE arguments into DIRECTORY

-T,  --no-target-directory

treat DEST as a normal file


control which existing files are updated; UPDATE={all,none,older(default)}.  See below


equivalent to --update[=older]

-v,  --verbose

explain what is being done

-Z,  --context

set SELinux security context of destination file to default type


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

UPDATE controls which existing files in the destination are replaced. 'all' is the default operation when an --update option is not specified, and results in all existing files in the destination being replaced. 'none' is similar to the --no-clobber option, in that no files in the destination are replaced, but also skipped files do not induce a failure. 'older' is the default operation when --update is specified, and results in files being replaced if they're older than the corresponding source file.

The backup suffix is '~', unless set with --suffix or SIMPLE_BACKUP_SUFFIX. The version control method may be selected via the --backup option or through the VERSION_CONTROL environment variable.  Here are the values:

none, off

never make backups (even if --backup is given)

numbered, t

make numbered backups

existing, nil

numbered if numbered backups exist, simple otherwise

simple, never

always make simple backups


Written by Mike Parker, David MacKenzie, and Jim Meyering.

Reporting Bugs

GNU coreutils online help: <>
Report any translation bugs to <>

See Also


Full documentation <>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) mv invocation'

Referenced By

acl(5), forward(5), freeze(1), gio(1), icmd(1), inotify(7), ksh93(1), lsof(1), mksh(1), mmv(1), nbdkit-rate-filter(1), oksh(1), prename(1), ptrash(1), refile(1), ren(1), rename(1), rename(2), shtool(1), shtool-move(1), sshfs(1), symlink(7).

January 2024 GNU coreutils 9.4