timeout - Man Page

run a command with a time limit

Examples (TL;DR)


timeout [OPTION]


Start COMMAND, and kill it if still running after DURATION.

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


exit with the same status as COMMAND, even when the

command times out


when not running timeout directly from a shell prompt,

allow COMMAND to read from the TTY and get TTY signals; in this mode, children of COMMAND will not be timed out

-k, --kill-after=DURATION

also send a KILL signal if COMMAND is still running

this long after the initial signal was sent

-s, --signal=SIGNAL

specify the signal to be sent on timeout;

SIGNAL may be a name like 'HUP' or a number; see 'kill -l' for a list of signals

-v, ā€‰--verbose

diagnose to stderr any signal sent upon timeout


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

DURATION is a floating point number with an optional suffix: 's' for seconds (the default), 'm' for minutes, 'h' for hours or 'd' for days. A duration of 0 disables the associated timeout.

Upon timeout, send the TERM signal to COMMAND, if no other SIGNAL specified. The TERM signal kills any process that does not block or catch that signal. It may be necessary to use the KILL signal, since this signal can't be caught.

Exit status


if COMMAND times out, and --preserve-status is not specified


if the timeout command itself fails


if COMMAND is found but cannot be invoked


if COMMAND cannot be found


if COMMAND (or timeout itself) is sent the KILL (9) signal (128+9)


the exit status of COMMAND otherwise


Some platforms don't currently support timeouts beyond the year 2038.


Written by Padraig Brady.

Reporting Bugs

GNU coreutils online help: <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/>
Report any translation bugs to <https://translationproject.org/team/>

See Also


Full documentation <https://www.gnu.org/software/coreutils/timeout>
or available locally via: info '(coreutils) timeout invocation'

Referenced By

debrepro(1), git-annex-common-options(1), qemu-sanity-check(1), sdorfehs(1), time(7).

April 2024 GNU coreutils 9.5