I'm new to Linux and have been seeing this often. Could someone explain the concept here?


What does the ~ (tilde) signify?


3 Answers 3


The ~ (tilde) is a quick way of specifying your home directory.

The ~/.somefilename means your home directory, the file .somefilename.

  • 3
    I should also mention that the . infront of a file name normally signifies it is a hidden file. It will not show up by default in an ls of a directory unless you specify -a as an option to the ls command.
    – Lipongo
    Sep 12, 2012 at 23:14

The tilde ~ character is interpreted by most shells as the "home directory" for you. The "." doesn't mean anything if it's part of a filename, although some programs such as ls will (unless explicitely told otherwise) not show files if their name starts with a "dot". Sort of a "hidden" attribute.


Tilde originally shared the same space on the HOME key of certain keyboards and by association still means home directory.

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