I have managed to grep the occurences of a keyword by using

grep "KeyWord" . -r -n -i -I 

but, the occurences of the KeyWord are too large. I just want to delete all the lines containing that word.

I searched around, sed looks like to be the utility. Can anyone tell me what command would do the trick?


3 Answers 3


With a GNU sed:

find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 sed -i /KeyWord/d

With an OSX sed:

find . -type f -print0 | xargs -0 sed -i '' /KeyWord/d

First command find finds all the standard files (not directories, or pipes, or etc.), prints them separated by \0 (so filenames can contains spaces, newlines, etc.).

Second command xargs reads the output of find, grabs a list based on a separator (\0 because of -0), invokes sed -i [...] with added parameters from the list (sed will be called multiple times if there are a lot of files, as the maximum length of the parameters is limited in each invocation).

The sed command modifies in-place (-i).

As to /KeyWord/d, it'll delete lines containing the regular expression KeyWord.

You should learn sed to properly understand the (simple but unusual) syntax, and refer to the appropriate manpages for more information about the tools involved here.

And as I like to promote zsh, the solution with its extended globs:

sed -i /KeyWord/d **/*(.)
  • How about just deleting the word "keyword." and not the whole line? Jul 11, 2012 at 23:39
  • s/KeyWord//g (substitutes KeyWord with '' (empty string), g for all (not only the first on each line). Jul 15, 2012 at 17:23

You can use Vim in Ex mode:

find -type f -exec ex -sc g/KeyWord/d -cx {} ';'
  1. g global search

  2. d delete

  3. x save and close

  • 1
    in OSX that gave me find: illegal option -- t , had to add the . find . -type f -exec ex -sc g/KeyWord/d -cx {} ';'
    – Erik
    Aug 28, 2016 at 7:00

I originally started with a grep to find the files, so it feels a little safer to modify that slightly than to switch to a find.

$ grep -l -r KeyWord * | xargs sed -i /KeyWord/d

grep -l will print the filenames, sed -i will edit them.

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