I do Ctrl+W in the mac terminal to delete a word (deletes from where the cursor is at to the beginning of the word)

How do I do the opposite - deletes from where the cursor is to the end of the word?


This depends on your shell and its active command line editing mode.

For a shell with Emacs command line editing mode (set -o emacs in some shells), use Alt+D (this doesn't work on macOS for whatever reason, but prints the character , use Escd instead).

For a shell with Vi command line editing mode (set -o vi in some shells), use Escdw (this does work on macOS as well).

  • Only in zsh though does Meta-D delete the same type of word that Ctrl-W does (blank delimited ones). In bash in vi mode, you can use dW to delete those – Stéphane Chazelas Sep 25 '17 at 20:47
  • 1
    @StéphaneChazelas Yes, they (the two keycombos) have a different view of what constitutes a "word". – Kusalananda Sep 25 '17 at 20:51
  • You can check the "use option as meta" in the terminal Keyboard preferences to make it work. – Jozef Legény Jun 11 '18 at 8:07
  • Both Esc+D and Alt+D work in xfce4 terminal 0.6.3. – neverMind9 Dec 1 '18 at 16:02

For the tty line discipline, ^W deletes the previous white-space delimited word.

In the vi editor in insert mode, ^W deletes backward to the start of the first sequence of alnums or non-alnums (on foo-+-bar.. baz, it first deletes baz, then .., then bar, then -+-, then foo).

In the emacs editor, ^W deletes from the cursor position to the mark (the one you set with Ctrl+Space).

Some line editors like readline (used by bash, gdb...), zle (used by zsh), pdksh's when in vi mode, behave like vi in that regard and when in emacs mode behave like the tty line discipline (not emacs).

libedit (used by BSD shells or (optionally) dash), tcsh, AT&T ksh, in emacs mode, behave like emacs where ^W deletes to the mark (initially at the beginning of the buffer).

For deleting a word forward, in the vi editor, you'd do it in command (normal) mode with dw to delete to the beginning of the next sequence of alnums or non-alnums (or the end of the line) and dW to delete to the next sequence of non-blanks (the pendant of the ^W of the tty line discipline).

In the emacs line editor, Meta-D would delete to the end of the next sequence of alnum characters. The word motion operators (Meta-B, Meta-F) behave similarly.

command line editors, when in vi mode, behave like vi, but in emacs mode, you have two main schools: the tcsh school and the ksh school.

The ksh school (readline, ksh, yash) behaves mostly like emacs (fish's behaviour is slightly different in how it treats non-alnum, non-whitespace characters in both emacs and vi mode).

In the tcsh school (tcsh, libedit, zsh), word motions are based on whitespace-delimited words so are consistent with the tty line discipline's ^W in that regard.

In zsh, the behaviour is customizable with different word styles for all the word motion widgets.

For readline, you can get the tcsh school (and have Meta-D delete the same kind of word as Ctrl-W does) by adding to your ~/.inputrc:

set keymap vi-move
"\e[EMACS~": emacs-editing-mode
set keymap emacs
"\e[VI~": vi-movement-mode
"\ed": "\e[VI~dW\e[EMACS~"
"\ef": vi-fWord
"\eb": vi-bWord

Or on the other hand, align ^W to the other word motion widgets (behave like Meta-Backscape) with:

set keymap emacs
"\C-W": backward-kill-word

As to what the Meta key is, see there.


In Linux try Ctrl+k to delete from where the cursor is to the end of the word.

There are few other shortcuts listed below(working in Linux):

  1. Ctrl+e -> Takes cursor at the end of the word.
  2. Ctrl+t -> Inter-change the position of the alphabets.
  3. Ctrl+y -> adds postfix "hh" to current word.
  4. Ctrl+u -> Deletes the whole line.
  5. Ctrl+o -> Works same as Enter key.
  6. Ctrl+p -> Works same as up arrow button.
  7. Ctrl+a -> Brings cursor to the starting position of the command.
  8. Ctrl+d -> Closes terminal.
  9. Ctrl+f -> Moves cursor forward by one Character.
  10. Ctrl+h -> Works same as Backspace key.
  11. Ctrl+j -> Works same as Enter key.
  12. Ctrl+m -> Works same as Enter key.
  13. Ctrl+b -> Works same as Right-arrow key. 14 Ctrl+4 -> Deletes the word
  • 2
    Ctrl+k deletes to the end of the line. Ctrl+u deletes the whole line (if the cursor is at the end). Ctrl+d sends EOF. Ctrl+e goes to the end of the line, etc. – Kusalananda Sep 25 '17 at 18:16
  • Ctrl + y is used to paste, or yank, the last thing you saved in the clipboard, in your case it was probably "hh." Why in the world do you think there would be a keyboard shortcut to post-fix a given word with the letters "hh"? How would that be useful? – bmcentee148 Aug 1 at 1:17

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