When I try to execute this command which is valid according to man 1 kill I receive an error instead of proper functionality.

$ kill --timeout 1000 TERM --signal QUIT 12345
bash: kill: -timeout: invalid signal specification

I am using the util-linux version of kill.


2 Answers 2


You receive an error because bash prioritizes a shell builtin command kill. When you type man 1 kill, the installed program is described as a "user command". You may circumvent this by using the full path of the installed program, e.g. /usr/bin/kill.

  • 1
    ... or env kill if you don't want to hard-code an absolute path and instead take the first kill utility that occurs in $PATH.
    – Kusalananda
    Jan 1, 2022 at 18:29

In addition @ArborealAnole answer.

Possibly the target process with pid 1234. Does not handle/trap the QUIT signal.

First test that process with pid 1234 can handle/trap QUIT signal. Than apply a timeout.

BTW: the correct QUIT signal is SIGQUIT. You can list available signals with kill -l

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