I have the following situation:

$ ls
0.txt  aaa.txt  a-.txt  a.txt  b.txt  ddd.txt  -hello.txt  libs  -.txt  ,.txt  !.txt  ].txt  \.txt
$ ls [-a]*.txt
ls: opzione non valida -- "e"
Try 'ls --help' for more information.
$ ls [a-]*.txt
ls: opzione non valida -- "e"
Try 'ls --help' for more information.

The dash (-) creates some problems. How can I find a file starting with -?

marked as duplicate by roaima, HalosGhost, GAD3R, techraf, G-Man Oct 15 '16 at 23:06

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Use -- to indicate end of options for ls:

ls -- -*

or do the following to explicitly indicate the argument on current directory with ./

ls ./-*

If you want to input more options for ls, put them before -- or ./ e.g.

ls -l -- -*
ls -l ./-*
  • forget --, use ./, as it is more portable – Olivier Dulac Oct 1 '16 at 23:08
  • 3
    @OlivierDulac Unless you're working with 1970s (1980s?) systems, no, -- is portable. – Gilles Oct 1 '16 at 23:50
  • 3
    Do we really not have a canonical "how do I escape -" question I can flag this as a duplicate of? It seems like we have had one of these questions every week for a while – cat Oct 2 '16 at 1:39
  • @Gilles: well, the added advantage of going the "./" route is that you don't have to 1) ensure all the command you use know about "--" 2) same for any possible function of the same name ... I keep using that way. But one still needs to also use the '--' in one's function to clearly mark the end of options, ensuring a parameter won't affect the function's behaviour. ie, we need both: something ./* on the command line, to properly designate the files we want to affect, and somecommand [options here] -- "$@" in our function definitions, where -- clearly delimitate options from args – Olivier Dulac Oct 3 '16 at 15:52
  • And I did encounter commands ignoring what "--" was meant to be, but I'll have to research about those at work, as I can't remember which command it was (an ancient aix tar, maybe?) – Olivier Dulac Oct 3 '16 at 15:54

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