I am trying to find commands with the word "symbolic" inside the contents

If I type

   man chmod



you can see that chmod command has the line of "new modes of the file will also be printed, in both octal and symbolic notation. ~ "

So I was expecting if I type

   man -f "symbolic"

the chmod command shows up, but it doesn't

Why not? And how do I look up the words in "Full", not "short", command man page? so that I can look up chmod by searching the word "symbolic"



1 Answer 1


You are looking for the -K option for man:

-K, --global-apropos
Search for text in all manual pages. This is a brute-force search, and is likely to take some time; if you can, you should specify a section to reduce the number of pages that need to be searched. Search terms may be simple strings (the default), or regular expressions if the --regex option is used.

This will, by default, queue all of the man pages that match your search pattern up for opening in your $PAGER. To just view the list of man pages that contain your search term, pass the -w option as well:

-w, --where, --location
Don't actually display the manual pages, but do print the location(s) of the source nroff files that would be formatted.

Depending on your search term, this could return a lot of results...

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