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I want to get just the name of the parent directory for a file.

Example: When I have path=/a/b/c/d/file, I want only d and not /a/b/c/d (which I get from dirname $path) as output.

Is there any sophisticated way to do this?

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4 Answers 4

It sounds like you want the basename of the dirname:

$ filepath=/a/b/c/d/file
$ parentname="$(basename "$(dirname "$filepath")")"
$ echo "$parentname"
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You can use pwd to get the current working directory, and use parameter expansion to avoid forking it into another (sub)shell.

echo ${PWD##*/}

Edit: proven source

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The question has nothing to do with the current directory. You could use ${path##*/} –  Matteo Jan 20 '13 at 9:22
Ah, I guess I misread it in my drowsiness –  Fire Jan 20 '13 at 16:59

I think this is a less-resource solution:

 $ filepath=/a/b/c/d/file
 $ echo ${${filepath%/*}##*/}

edit: Sorry, nested expansion isn't possible in bash, but it works in zsh. Bash-version:

 $ filepath=/a/b/c/d/file
 $ path=${filepath%/*}
 $ echo ${path##*/}
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There are some edge cases this doesn't handle well, mainly when there isn't a full multilevel path. For example, try it with filepath=file or filepath=/file`. –  Gordon Davisson Jan 20 '13 at 22:31
Indeed. But what is the parent directory of foofile? If it isn't full path can't know (maybe if foofile is an existing file not only a "string"). –  uzsolt Jan 21 '13 at 8:54

In bash, in one line:

$ dirname /a/b/c/d/file | sed 's,^\(.*/\)\?\([^/]*\),\2,'
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can you please elaborate the procedures involved? it can be of help to future readers. also, please try not to write 1/2 line answers. –  Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Apr 28 '13 at 19:18

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