I am a newbie. I set an alias in .bashrc file as follow.

alias myrm='mv /home/user/Trash/*'

The purpose is that when I use myrm comment, for example $myrm foo, the file "foo" has to be moved to the Trash folder which is in my home folder (/home/user/Trash).

Then I did

$source ~/.bashrc

After this, when I try to use myrm by typing $myrm foo, I get the following error message.

mv: cannot stat ‘/home/user/Trash/*’: No such file or directory

How this problem can be solved?

  • 2
    Syntax is mv SOURCE DESTINATION and not mv DESTINATION SOURCE. See man mv and help alias. Use a function. See help function.
    – Cyrus
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 5:48
  • Investigate positional parameters. Your script wants a $1 between the mv and the destination folder to take the 'foo' you provide when you run the script.
    – mcalex
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 5:50
  • 7
    Workaround: alias myrm='mv -t /home/user/Trash'
    – Cyrus
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 5:52
  • 1
    @Cyrus It's not a workaround, it's the right way. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 5:56
  • Thanks @Cyrus and others for comments. The alias myrm='mv -t /home/user/Trash/} solved the problem.
    – phenomenon
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 6:10

6 Answers 6


First of all, you don’t use $ when you call an alias.  $ is for expanding a variable (and a few other things that aren’t particularly relevant to this question).

But, secondly, aliases do work a little like variables, in the sense that they (at the risk of oversimplifying a little) just expand to a bunch of words.  You say you want to do myrm foo, but that would expand to mv /home/user/Trash/* foo, which doesn’t make sense.

A simple solution would be to define the alias to be mv -t /home/user/Trash, which would work because mv supports the

mv -t destination_dir  file
syntax as an alternative to the

mv filedestination_dir

But you can get greater flexibility with a shell function.  These combine the flexibility of scripts with the (low) overhead of aliases.  For example,

myrm() { mv "$@" /home/user/Trash; }

will cause myrm foo to be interpreted as mv foo /home/user/Trash.

  • 9
    I think the $ is from his shell, normally all the lines in a terminal start with $ to say it's a non-root shell
    – Ferrybig
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 16:03
  • Yes, that could be what he means. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 17:57

Probably easier solution is to use trash-cli package. Then you can just do alias myrm=trash and then trash foo to accomplish what you want to. Except that foo will now go to ~/. local/share/Trash


The problem is, with mv you have to use it like mv source destination.

With your alias it's vice-versa mv destination source.

Also you don't need the asterisk * at the end, because it works with the destination as a folder. Make sure your folder /home/user/Trash exists with mkdir /home/user/Trash.

To solve your alias idea, I would recommend you to have a look at this stackoverflow questions:

This will lead to that solution; please add this to your ~/.bashrc and do a source ~/.bashrc after adding:

myrm() {
 /bin/mv "$@" /home/user/Trash/
  • The answer is in the links, I don't like to copy other people's work
    – chloesoe
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 6:31
  • I saw this answer when it was the only one here. If it had explicit solution, I would have upvoted it right away. I hesitated but upvoted eventually because the links are useful, they give insight and stay within Stack Exchange. Main problem with link-only answers is the linked target may disappear, but I expect if these targets suddenly disappear from Internet, so will this entire question. Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 6:48
  • added the solution and left the most fitting link, the other link was stackoverflow.com/q/4438147/7311363 qft
    – chloesoe
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 6:54

As stated in comments, the mv syntax is different you can do :

myrm(){ mv "$@" $HOME/Trash/; }

that can handle multiple files as argument

However this simple alias does not handle file name collision, as well as metadata (from where it has been removed, ...).

For a more complete solution, you can simply use the package trash-cli which is pretty good and come with few tools (eg. empty files thar are in the trash for X days, ...).


There is another useful alias you could consider if you have gvfs-bin package installed in your host:

alias myrm='gvfs-trash`

It moves your files to the bin. Also, the proper files are written in your $TRASH folder (such as info/, files/ ...). So you don't have to worry for that. Example : Going in the bin and clicking restore will perfectly work.

That's redundant with trash-cli but your host may have only one of them already installed, so if you don't have trash-cli, give it a try.

  • Is this any better or worse than the trash-cli package? This requires installing gvfs-bin which is also not installed on my system. I had never encountered gvfs before and just read up on it a bit at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GVfs . I'm still not sure what its raison d'être is, but that's another question.
    – Joe
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 22:29
  • 1
    On all the system (Ubuntu mostly) I used it was already installed, that why I proposed it; But since you're telling me it isn't mandatory, trash-cli may not be any better or worse. I will update my response accordingly
    – PTRK
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 6:54

You need to do

mv "$1" /home/user/Trash/
mv -t /home/user/Trash/
instead of
mv /home/user/Trash/
Manpage here

  • The first one (mv "$1" /home/user/Trash/) won’t work in an alias (which is what the question is asking about) and is of limited value in a function (as I said in my answer, mv "$@" /home/user/Trash is better).  The second one (mv -t /home/user/Trash/) was already given in my answer and Cyrus’s comment before that. Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 23:45

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