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When accidentally pasting a file into the shell it puts a ton of ugly nonsense entries in the bash history. Is there a clean way to remove those entries? Obviously I could close the shell and edit the .bash_history file manually but maybe there's some kind of API available to modify the history of the current shell?

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up vote 22 down vote accepted

You can use history -d offset builtin to delete a specific line from the current shell's history, or history -c to clear the whole history.

It's not really practical if you want to remove a range of lines, since it only takes one offset as an argument, but you could wrap it in a function with a loop.

rmhist() {
    start=$1
    end=$2
    count=$(( end - start ))
    while [ $count -ge 0 ] ; do
        history -d $start
        ((count--))
    done
}

Call it with rmhist first_line_to_delete last_line_to_delete. (Line numbers according to the output of history.)

(Use history -w to force a write to the history file.)

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Just this one liner in command prompt will help.

for i in {1..N}; do history -d START_NUM; done

Where START_NUM is starting position of entry in history N is no of entries you may want to delete

ex: for i in {1..50}; do history -d 1030; done

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