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In order to memorize a command, it is usually a good idea to learn where it's name comes from. For example, cp comes from copy. usermod means "User Modifiy" (at least I guess so).

Where does chmod come from, what does it mean?

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Wikipedia is your friend for these: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chmod. Believe it or not there are topics for most of the commands. – slm May 9 '14 at 2:09
You are right, it's say so right in the beginning – Felipe May 9 '14 at 2:23
Consult the man pages, there is a wealth of information given in them. In your case, "man chmod". – delta24 May 9 '14 at 3:18
up vote 8 down vote accepted
change mode

It is the full form of the command. So basically you are changing the mode set as something to some other thing.

Read only permission to Read/Write permission, revoking read/write permission to just read only permission etc.

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You're not IMO changing read to write or anything like that. You are just modifying the permissions for read/write/execute. – Pavel Šimerda May 9 '14 at 7:39
@PavelŠimerda, Thanks for pointing it out. I have edited the answer :) – Ramesh May 9 '14 at 14:34
When thinking about the terminology, it may also be helpful to know that permissions are stored together with file type (regular-file, directory, pipe, char-device, block-device, etc.) in a single integer field which is usually called the "mode" of the file. (struct stat's st_mode in userspace; struct inode's i_mode in the kernel). – Wumpus Q. Wumbley May 10 '14 at 13:44

CHange MODe.

[root@localhost /]# apropos -e chmod -s 1
chmod (1)            - change file mode bits
[root@localhost /]#
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