man -f wh (synonymous with
whatis) displays the short (one-line) description for the command
wh. The flag
man to display only the first line and not the whole page. That's no what you're after.
apropos wh (synonymous with
man -k wh) lists the man pages whose short description contains the string
wh. If you want to combine a search in the short description with a pattern on the command name, you can filter the results of
grep. To restrict to user commands (i.e. section 1) and not display administrator commands, C library functions, etc., pass
-S 1. If you want both user and administrator commands, pass
apropos symbolic | grep '^wh'
To search in whole man pages, with mandb (the most common
man implementation on Linux), use
K, as opposed to the lowercase
apropos). This can take a very long time if you have a lot of man pages installed; consider passing the
--regex option to restrict the search to man pages whose one-line description matches a regex.
man -K -S 1:8 --regex 'change.*file' symbolic