I try to write a function in .bash_profile to define a function for process killing as follows:

function pkill {
                pid = ps -elf|grep python|grep $1|awk -F " " '{print $4}'
                kill -9 pid

And what I want to do is using "pkill keyword" to kill the process that pid=[ps -elf|grep python|grep keyword|awk -F " " '{print $4}'],and my code didn't work.How should I write this function?

about kill:
my python process is multithreaded.I've tried kill pid,kill -TERM pid,orkill -INT pid,but still can find it in the processlist.So I used 'kill -9'.


3 Answers 3

pid=$(ps -elf|grep vim|grep 'screenrc' | awk -F" " '{print $4}')

But you might be able to use pgrep instead:

pid=$(pgrep -f "python .*$1")


pids=$(pgrep -d' ' -f "python .*$1")
kill -9 $pids

If you're feeling confident (reckless!):

\pkill -9 -f "python .*$1"
  • 1
    Or just pkill -f "python .*$1", as pkill always comes with pgrep.
    – user1686
    Mar 10, 2010 at 12:58

Is there a reason you're listing and then discarding a ton of extra junk?

(I assume you're using GNU ps, but I prefer BSD ps syntax. It's supported by GNU ps, too, because GNU ps supports everything.)

 # as others have noted 'pkill' is an existing command, so let's not clash with its name
 function pypkill {
      pids=$(ps ax -opid= -ocomm= | grep python | grep "$1" | awk -F " " '{print $1}')
      kill -TERM $pids


  • pids=
    • The sub shell may return more than one PID. This captures all of them
  • $( )
    • a subshell. Commands inside the parentheses will be executed and their output returned in place.
  • ps ax
    • shows all processes on the system (BSD syntax)
  • -opid= -ocomm=
    • tells ps to output two columns: PID and command name, and to ommit the header line
  • kill -TERM $pids
    • Using kill -9 is a last resort. In most cases kill -TERM is what you want, or possibly kill -INT, before resorting to kill -KILL.

Shouldn't that be more like

  pid=$(ps -elf|grep python|grep $1|awk -F" " '{print $4}')
  kill -9 $pid
  • It seems still not work,error info said: bad substitution.:(
    – SpawnST
    Mar 10, 2010 at 9:03
  • @SpawnST: Sorry, I don't have bash here to try it out, I was just guessing. :(
    – Bobby
    Mar 10, 2010 at 9:25
  • 1
    remove the space between -F and " "
    – njd
    Mar 10, 2010 at 12:55
  • 1
    It should be $( ), not ${ }.
    – user1686
    Mar 10, 2010 at 12:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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