Trying to use locate command to find an exact match for the given pattern. However it results showing all matching files..

For example: I want to find a binary named: node

But it gives me all matches containing this word:

server2# locate node

If you look at locate --help, you may find:

  -r, --regexp REGEXP    search for basic regexp REGEXP instead of patterns
      --regex            patterns are extended regexps

You can use -r to provide a regexp pattern to locate:

locate -r /node$

The / ensures node is at the start of the file name. The $ ensures node is at the end of the file name. This will give you only the files matching the exact file name.

If you want to do a case-insensitive search (matches Node, NODE, nOdE, etc), add -i:

locate -i -r /node$

If locate does not support regexp, you can use grep (as mentioned by Iracicot):

locate node | grep /node$
locate -i node | grep -i /node$
  • Alternatively, you can use the -b switch to only match against the basename: locate -br node$ – Sarke Sep 29 '17 at 22:22

You may use grep with locate

server2# locate node | grep node$

The $ sign will tell grep to look at the end of the string.

  • 1
    Result is the same. It brings up different matches ending with node... /usr/ports/www/p5-WebService-Linode. I guess it should be /node$ ? – Alex G Sep 27 '12 at 13:40
  • Yes you can try this too (But I'm not sure if the / character must be escaped or not). Have you tried locate -b ? – lracicot Sep 27 '12 at 13:43

Disable locate's implicit glob by adding your own glob that matches all directories:

locate */node

From the man page:

If any PATTERN contains no globbing characters, locate behaves as if the pattern were *PATTERN*

This syntax will match a complete file or directory name anywhere, including in the root.

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