Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Under what circumstances do we prefix a $ symbol to a Linux/Unix directory name?

For instance:

share|improve this question

migrated from May 19 '11 at 15:53

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

export CVBLOB=/tmp; cd $CVBLOB -> you will end up in /tmp – mihi May 19 '11 at 16:32
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The $ prefix means that the value is an environment variable.

For more information, see this article explaining environment variables in Linux.

share|improve this answer
So does it mean that the directory CVBLOB directly gets added to $PATH? – amal antony May 19 '11 at 15:32
No, it means $CVBLOB is a variable in and of itself. Open up a terminal and type env. It'll show you a list of all the environment variables found. The $PATH variable is just one, although it's probably the most common. – Zach Rattner May 19 '11 at 15:33
@user761350: No. And CVBLOLB is not a directory, it is a variable. – user49531 May 19 '11 at 15:33
@user761350: No. Maybe your $CVBLOB variable expands to something with, again CVBLOB in the name, like /opt/CVBLOB. But it needn't. So the answer to your original question is 'never'. A variable is prefixed with $, and the name is more or less free to chooose. And it isn't related to the path. You may extend your path with a literal name or an variable, like PATH=$PATH:$JAVA_HOME/bin or PATH=$PATH:/opt/jdk-1.6.20_26/bin` but you have to do it. There is no automatic DIR->VAR-PATH. – user unknown May 19 '11 at 15:38

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.