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I'd like to search for a certain string in all system man pages, but I only want to get a list of the man pages where this text appears. The first 2 pages of results Google returned do not provide the answer I'm after, if at all such an answer exists.

Let me explain:

I'd like to see all man pages where the word hairpin appears. I proceed to type man -K hairpin, and the contents that appear are akin to me having typed man nmcli. When I exit this man page via q, the following then appears on my screen:

--Man-- next: bridge(8) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]

From here, I can continuously type Ctrl+D and eventually return to the command prompt with the following displayed above the prompt:

--Man-- next: bridge(8) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]
--Man-- next: lldptool-evb22(8) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]
--Man-- next: systemd.network(5) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]
--Man-- next: nm-settings(5) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]
--Man-- next: nm-settings-ifcfg-rh(5) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]
--Man-- next: systemd.directives(7) [ view (return) | skip (Ctrl-D) | quit (Ctrl-C) ]

What I'm asking is, is it possible to get a listing of the man pages where hairpin appears such as below?:

man -<some-option> -K hairpin

Searching Google using a sentence doesn't always return the results where the specific query is addressed. This is obviously the case for this question, as pointed out by several that it is indeed a duplicate.

However, it would be best not to delete it as it shows the specific output returned on Ubuntu systems. A user on Ubuntu may benefit from this question.

Edit 2:
Searching for skip (Ctrl-D) now has this question appearing in the first page of Google results where previously nothing was returned!

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marked as duplicate by muru, Jakuje, Stephen Kitt, Jeff Schaller, cuonglm Mar 28 at 1:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Is a terrible ugly hack like PAGER="head -1" man -K hairpin </dev/null good enough for you? – Celada Mar 27 at 12:39
Awesome, Celada. Now I just need to type it a few times to train the grey matter! It would be better though if an option was added to man to allow for this. – AnthonyK Mar 27 at 12:48
A better version of @Celada's clever trick could be PAGER='awk "NR==1{print $1}"' man -K hairpin </dev/null or even PAGER='perl -lane "print lc($F[0]) if $.==1"' man -K hairpin </dev/null. Celada, why not whip that into an answer? – terdon Mar 27 at 12:59
@terdon, I don't think other answers will get votes being that the answer you've provided indicates that this option already exists - just that I wasn't aware - or rather, hadn't taken the time to read the manual thoroughly! – AnthonyK Mar 27 at 13:09
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can use the -w option:

   -w, --where, --path, --location
          Don't actually display the manual pages, but do print the  loca‐
          tion(s) of the source nroff files that would be formatted.

That returns almost what you asked for:

$ man -wK hairpin

If that's not enough, you can parse it into shape:

$ man -wK hairpin | perl -pe 's#.*/([^/]+)\.(\d+)\.gz#$1($2)#'

Finally, you could make that into a function. Add this line to your shell's initialization file (~/.bashrc, for example):

function sman(){ man -wK "$@" | perl -pe 's#.*/([^/]+)\.(\d+)\.gz#$1($2)#'; }

Then, you can run:

$ sman hairpin
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