I have a script which requires an directory as one argument. I want to support the two form: one is like


(no slash at the end) and another is like


(has slash at the end).

My question: given either of the two form, how can I just keep the first form unchanged and strip the last slash of the second form to convert it to the first form.

  • 2
    Not that it should be much of a problem - a double slash anywhere except at the start is equivalent to a single slash, so don't worry about joining them using /. – muru Apr 23 '15 at 1:40
  • @muru I did not know this before :). – Yulong Ao Apr 23 '15 at 1:46
  • Here is a good Q/A on Multiple Consecutive Path Separators – Peter.O Apr 23 '15 at 8:42
  • 1
    @muru A slash at the end can make a difference, such as the difference between acting on a symlink and acting on the directory it points to, or the source argument of rsync. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Apr 24 '15 at 4:55
  • @Gilles indeed, but as you can see, I'm talking of joining paths. – muru Apr 24 '15 at 4:56

will take the script's first parameter and remove a trailing slash if there is one.


To remove a trailing slash if there is one, you can use the suffix removal parameter expansion construct present in all POSIX-style shells:


There are a few complications. This only removes a single slash, so if you started with a/b/c// then you'll still end up with a slash. Furthermore, if the original path was /, you need to keep the slash. Here's a more complex solution that takes care of these cases:

case $x in
  *[!/]*/) x=${x%"${x##*[!/]}"};;
  *[/]) x="/";;

Alternatively, in ksh, or in bash after shopt -s extglob:

[[ x = *[!/] ]] || x=${x%%*(/)}

Note that in many cases, it doesn't matter that there is a trailing slash. It does matter if the argument is a symbolic link to a directory: with a trailing slash, the argument designates the directory, whereas with no trailing slash, the argument designates the symbolic link itself. It also matters with a few other programs, for example the source argument of rsync is treated differently depending on the presence of a trailing slash.


realpath resolves given path. Among other things it also removes trailing slashes. Use -s to prevent following simlinks

echo $(realpath -s $DIR)
# output: /tmp/a

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