I'm trying to pipe grep output to rm, but it outputs useless stuff. Is any switch required for rm? Or can rm can be provided a regexp directly?

ls | grep '^\[Daruchini'| rm

rm: missing operand Try `rm --help' for more information.

  • Always copy-paste error messages. (I've inserted the actual error message for the benefit of future readers. But I could only do this because there's only one possible error message in this case. Most of the time, it's vital to have the exact error message to understand the problem. So always copy-paste all error messages in full.) – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Mar 18 '11 at 21:53

You need to use xargs to turn standard input into arguments for rm.

$ ls | grep '^Dar' | xargs rm

(Beware of special characters in filenames; with GNU grep, you might prefer

$ ls | grep -Z '^Dar' | xargs -0 rm


Also, while the shell doesn't use regexps, that's a simple pattern:

$ rm Dar*

(meanwhile, I think I need more sleep.)


Do not parse the output of ls.

Here, it's very simple to get the shell to filter the files you want. Note that it's the shell that's expanding the pattern Dar*, not the rm command. The pattern expansion performed by the shell is called globbing.

rm Dar*

In more complex cases, look up the find command.


For passing output as an argument, I tend to use a while loop since I'm not familiar with xargs.

ls | grep '^Dar' | while read line; do rm "$line";done;
  • this is the only one that worked in my case. – marbel Jun 16 '18 at 1:31

If you want to delimit the output of grep by newlines rather than whitespace, you can specify that to xargs via the -d option.

$ ls | grep '^Dar' | xargs -d '\n' rm

(as described in this question)


On Catalina 10.15.3, with zsh, the way I found to deal with newlines and white spaces was:

 sudo find / | grep -i 'yourString' | tr '\n' '\0' | xargs -0 -n1 rm -r 

In other words, by translating new lines with no space (tr \n to \0) before removing it with "rm -0".

Also, I always use 'find'+'grep -i' because 'find -iname' sometimes doesn't output anything.

One last note: it finds and remove files and folders that matches 'yourString'. For files only, specify "find -type f", and then the option "-r" for rm is useless.


The best command for me is:

find ./Daruchini* -exec rm {}\;

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