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I have a relatively small brain, so there is a limit to what I can store up there. I have been using Linux semi-pro-amateur for a few years and still I am amazed at how little commands I know.

Simple stuff like "how do I list all my partitions in a terminal" will launch a 15 minute DuckDuckGo-hunt.

I am taking a stand! It ends today!

So, is there a way to search manpages for stuff like "list partitions" and getting something like:

$ man-search list partitions

Results for "list partitions"

df - list drives with size or something
du - list directory usage

I think I already know the answer, but ... maybe you can suggest a quicker way to find the utility I need when I need it.


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Can't see what du and df have to do with disk partitioning. The first one reports storage allocation of files and the second about allocation within file systems (whether those file systems as on disks, disk partitions, LVs, network or virtual) – Stéphane Chazelas May 27 '14 at 11:16
up vote 13 down vote accepted

I think what most closely fits what you're looking for is apropos (a.k.a. man -k), which will search the one-line descriptions preceding every manpage. If you want to search through whole manpages, at least man-db supports man -K, which does exactly this (man-db is the man implementation used on at least Debian derivatives by default).

IIRC, man -K is rather well supported on Linux man implementations, but using man-db would be highly recommended for the -db part: man-db indexes manpages in a much more efficient way which makes man -K at lot faster.

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Note that not all the man-db apropos options work with man -k. A shame that man -K doesn't support -a/--and like apropos. (as in man -K --and list partitions to find all the man pages that contain both list and partitions) – Stéphane Chazelas May 27 '14 at 11:29

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