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On linux at least, and I think windows/dos shell too you can use > to "pipe" output into a file. Something like:

cat myfile.txt > mightAsWellCP.txt

What is that piece of syntax sugar called? This is a "pipe": | so what do we call the > and < (and << and >> while were at it.)

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Redirect maybe? –  BrianAdkins Sep 28 '12 at 0:50
    
@BrianAdkins write this up as an answer –  soandos Sep 28 '12 at 0:58
    
"Piping" refers to using the output of one program as the input of another. > doesn't pipe output; it redirects it. As for what the symbols are called, I usually call them "less-than" and "greater-than", even though that's not how they're being used. (Or in print, I just call them < and >.) –  Keith Thompson Sep 28 '12 at 1:02
    
@BrianAdkins is correct - see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redirection_(computing) –  Kelvin Mackay Sep 28 '12 at 1:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I usually refer to all four variations (< << > >>) as a "redirect" when speaking to folks that I know will understand.

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They're symbols for redirection of input/output.
Quick runthrough on the differences between the redirection syntax commands

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When speaking a command-line, I usually pronounce the symbols by their function.

  • > "output to"
  • >> "append to"
  • < "input from"
  • | "pipe"

So when reading your example out loud:

cat myfile.txt > mightAsWellCP.txt

I would pronounce as "cat myfile dot T X T output to might as well C P dot T X T".

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