I am using Ubuntu.

I know by using cd ~/ , I can go to home/ directory.

But if I want to go to the directory (I do not know the official name of this directory) which contains etc/, var/, opt/, ... sub-directories, what is the symbol used to refer to this directory? (And by the way what is the official name of this directory? root directory?)

Basically, I would like to cd to that directory without using cd .. but one symbol to refer to it, is there such a symbol for it (like ~ refers to home directory)?

  • 2
    Btw, you can use cd without args to go to your home.
    – enzotib
    Nov 28, 2011 at 16:57
  • 2
    and you dont have to write the leading / -- cd ~ without the / is enough
    – SkaveRat
    Nov 28, 2011 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


This directory is called the root directory and is referenced by the symbol "/"

You can try cd / to go there.

Notice that if you try this:

$ cd /
$ cd ..

You're still at the root directory.

NB: Every Unix system has a super user account called root, whose home directory is /root. I know it's redundant, it can be ambiguous and lead to confusion. So make sure, every time you mention "root" to know whether it refers to the directory / or the (super)user.

  • do you mean "cd .." will stop when it reaches the root directory? Can I understand in this way?
    – Mellon
    Nov 28, 2011 at 21:11
  • 1
    Yes that's a very good way to look at it. My advice to you is to experiment as much as you can and read a unix tutorial. (hint: pwd will output your current working directory)
    – rahmu
    Nov 28, 2011 at 22:44
  • It's the root of the tree and is written as /. In node parlance, everything branches off from root until you get to the leaf nodes (files) Nov 29, 2011 at 2:45

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