When I use the reverse search functionality of bash, oftentimes it gets stuck after entering a single symbol. For example, if my history is:

username dir$ scala -version
username dir$ git status

and then I press Ctrl + R and type in s, it gets stuck at

(reverse-i-search)`s': git status

Typing further symbols does nothing. Any idea on why does that happen?

Some information that might be relevant:


\u \[\033[0;35m\]\W\[\033[0;37m\]$

bash version:

GNU bash, version 3.2.57(1)-release (x86_64-apple-darwin17)
Copyright (C) 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.


macOS High Sierra Version 10.13.2


  • 3
    Is it possible that you typed Ctrl+s instead of s? Does Ctrl+q clear it? – Stéphane Chazelas Dec 21 '17 at 13:04

Because the search program found the s at end of ... status and is now looking for another command that also ends with ... status, which is does not find.

You can confirm this theory using <ctrl-R> + d instead of <ctrl-R> + s. Then the search will find the d of username d, and will continue the search from there, and e.g. will straightforwardly go "up" to username dir$ scala -version.

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