I'm trying to use sed to replace just the last / in the following directory structure, but I'm not able to succeed with this. Any suggestions?

Input is /tmp/ABC/Dirs/, output should be /tmp/ABC/Dirs

echo " /tmp/ABC/Dirs/"  | sed -r "s/\/(?:[a-zA-Z0-9])/g"
  • 1
    @Alex Comments are transient, leave an answer!
    – grg
    Jan 6, 2018 at 12:05
  • If you're doing this to "clean up" a pathname so that it doesn't confuse the shell, it's not necessary. shells don't get confused by extra / characters. //////path/to///somewhere///filename is just /path/to/somewhere/filename as far as the shell is concerned. BTW, readlink's -e and -f options can be used to canonicalise a pathname to a directory or file (i.e. resolve all symlinks and return the canonical pathname)
    – cas
    Jan 6, 2018 at 14:20

4 Answers 4


sed seems to be rather overkill here, you can remove a trailing / directly in the Korn shell (and similar shells like bash, and all POSIX compliant shells as that Korn shell feature has been specified by POSIX for the sh utility):

$ foo=/tmp/ABC/Dirs/
$ echo "${foo%/}"
  • Thanks for help, worked perfectly. Think this one will be sufficient for my scenario. I was trying more with sed.
    – KK2486
    Jan 6, 2018 at 11:40

If you wanted to do with with sed, you'd do:

sed '$s|/$||' << EOF

That is, remove a / character at the end (second $) of the last (first $) line of the path stored in $file. With some sed implementations that assumes the size in bytes of the greatest sequence of non-newline characters in $file doesn't exceed LINE_MAX (which is often shorter than the maximum size of a path supported in arguments to system calls).

Note that for the special case of / or //, stripping that trailing / may not be desirable. You may also want to remove all trailing / in /foo/bar/// for instance.

So maybe a more advanced one and that would justify sed a bit more would be:

sed '
  }' << EOF

That is preserve // as it is, turn ///, ///// and / into /, but foo// into foo and $'foo\n//' into $'foo\n'.

Note that (?:...) is a perl regexp operator, not extended regexp operator (as recognised by GNU sed with that GNU-specific -r option).


I was the one who answered the question first with my s/\/$// comment.

Other people had time to contribute much fuller answers that day.

SO today -a few days later- I post a redundant answer, because I want the "Peer Pressure" Bronze award gone from the list.

sed -e s./$..g   # You can golf the quotes and the "\" here

So please, good folks, please downvote this time until -3 :)

  • What? No! This was supposed to be a troll answer, meant to be down-voted, so that I could delete It at -3 to get the "Peer Pressure" Bronze award. You foiled that plan by marking mine as the AA. ;) The answers below e.g. from @Stephane are much more comprehensive. But thanks anyway :) Jan 13, 2018 at 19:54

You can use perl instead of sed:

echo "/tmp/ABC/Dirs/" | perl -pne  "s/\/$//g"


  • You can golf this to perl -pne s./$..g Jan 12, 2018 at 17:55

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