I have setup several functions in my .bashrc file. I would like to just display the actual code of the function and not execute it, to quickly refer to something.

Is there any way, we could see the function definition?

4 Answers 4


The declare builtin's -f option does that:

bash-4.2$ declare -f apropos1
apropos1 () 
    apropos "$@" | grep ' (1.*) '

I use type for that purpose, it is shorter to type ;)

bash-4.2$ type apropos1
apropos1 is a function
apropos1 () 
    apropos "$@" | grep ' (1.*) '
  • In Ubuntu 18.04, type outputs: <function> is a shell function from <location>, and not the content.
    – Timo
    Apr 7, 2020 at 4:54
  • 1
    @Timo, are you sure that is Bash? Sounds like Zsh behavior.
    – manatwork
    Apr 7, 2020 at 9:03
  • thanks for the hint, here is the solution.
    – Timo
    Apr 8, 2020 at 5:07

You can use the type command to do this.

type yourfunc will print the function to STDOUT. As man type says,

The type utility shall indicate how each argument would be interpreted if used as a command name.
  • 3
    man type? Shell builtins usually have no man page on my system.
    – manatwork
    Dec 27, 2012 at 8:41
  • I have updated my answer with a link. The system I use is Arch Linux.
    – jasonwryan
    Dec 27, 2012 at 8:55
  • 1
    Thank you. Seems the man-pages package contains much more on Arch.
    – manatwork
    Dec 27, 2012 at 9:05
  • No problem: as it is one of the POSIX man pages, I thought it would be widely distributed...
    – jasonwryan
    Dec 27, 2012 at 9:10
  • 5
    help type shows the Bash-specific information.
    – l0b0
    Dec 27, 2012 at 12:25

for builtin commands' info use:

help [-s|-d] COMMAND1 COMMAND2 ....

for example:

help help alias

For info about all of them type, for example:

help -s '' 

type works if you declared your function in the shell but which works even if you sourced the function from another file.

  • That's not true. type works fine no matter where you've sourced the function from. Try printf 'foo(){ echo "hi"; }\n' > file; . file; type foo. Actually, which doesn't work with functions at all, it only finds commands in your PATH. See Why not use "which"? What to use then?
    – terdon
    Nov 2, 2022 at 9:54
  • @terdon, depends on the implementation of which, GNU which can be configured to dump function definitions (as you'll see at the Q&A you're linking to) Nov 2, 2022 at 10:27
  • @StéphaneChazelas even there, you would need something like declare -f | which --read-functions --tty-only $functionName and it still makes no difference whether the function was defined in the current shell or sourced from a file.
    – terdon
    Nov 2, 2022 at 10:40

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