Can someone explain what find -path means?

I tried looking at the man page, but I do not understand why it works the way it does with the script I wrote.

find ! -path . -type d -printf '%T@ %P\n' | sort -nr | head -n3 | awk '{print $2}'

This returns to me the last three modified directories in the current folder Im in. However, when I remove the -path . it only returns files to me, instead of folders. It's almost as if -type d is ignored.

2 Answers 2


If you remove the -path . but keep the ! at the start, then -type d is not ignored, your condition is ! -type d, which means "not directory". SO you get what you ask for.

  • Ah so, ! -path . is simply ignoring the current directory i.e. .? Aug 19, 2018 at 13:06
  • Yes, exactly, ignore ..
    – RalfFriedl
    Aug 19, 2018 at 13:06

The command you are trying will ignore the current folder with the argument ! -path .. Since you removed only -path . the not-operator ! will apply to the succeeding argument, -type d.

The result is that find will ignore all directories in the find path.

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