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What Does Cat Command Mean in Linux?



The cat command is undoubtedly one of the most useful commands in the Linux environment. This command is used to serve multiple purposes that are considered the essential components of regular Linux usage. In this tutorial, we want to explore the answer to the question, “what does the cat command mean in Linux?”

What does the Cat Command mean in Linux?

The cat command literally stands for “concatenate”. The most common purpose of this command is to list down the contents of a file on the terminal. However, if we try to relate this usage with the meaning of the cat command i.e. concatenate, then, we would like to share that this command is capable of displaying the contents of multiple files at once on the terminal by concatenating them. The simplest syntax of this command is as follows:

$ cat filename –option

Here, you can have one or more than one files as well whereas “option” represents the specific option that you want to use with the cat command. You can explore the different options that can be used with this command by going through its help manual with the execution of the command given below:

$ cat --help

You can use the cat command for displaying the contents of a sample file by running the following command:

$ cat cat.txt

Here, we already had a file “cat.txt” created on our system whose contents we wanted to be displayed on the terminal.

The contents of this file are shown in the image below:

Apart from this, the cat command can also be used for creating as well as for editing files. In short, this command is extremely versatile and useful because of which you must learn its usage if you plan on operating inside the Linux environment.


This article was a general guide meant to teach the readers the meaning of the cat command in Linux. In a nutshell, this command can be used as a full-fledged text editor that can easily be used for creating, modifying, and displaying the contents of one or more files.

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