What does the Cat command mean in Linux?


The cat command is undoubtedly one of the most useful commands in the Linux environment. This command is used for 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 means "to concatenate." The most common purpose of this command is to list the contents of a file in the terminal. However, if we try to relate this usage to the meaning of the cat command, i.e. concatenate, we would like to share that this command is capable of displaying the content of multiple files at once in the terminal by concatenating them. The simplest syntax for this command is as follows:

                        $ cat filename –option

Here, you can also have one or more files, while “option” represents the specific option you want to use with the cat command. You can explore the different options that can be used with this command by consulting its help manual by running the command below:

                        $ cat --help

You can use the cat command to display the contents of a sample file by running the following command:

                        $ cat cat.txt

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

The content of this file is shown in the following image:

Other than this, the cat command can also be used to create and edit files. In short, this command is extremely versatile and useful, so you should learn its usage if you plan to operate within the Linux environment.


This article was a general guide intended to teach readers the meaning of the cat command in Linux. In a nutshell, this command can be used as a full text editor that can be easily used to create, modify, and display the content of one or more files.

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