The manual describes SIGKILL and SIGSTOP like this:

SIGKILL             9    Term    Kill signal
SIGTERM            15    Term    Termination signal
SIGSTOP      17,19,23    Term    Stop the process

and states:

The signals SIGKILL and SIGSTOP cannot be caught, blocked, or ignored.

but what's the difference between the 2 signals?


3 Answers 3


As is found on Wikipedia


The SIGKILL signal is sent to a process to cause it to terminate immediately. In contrast to SIGTERM and SIGINT, this signal cannot be caught or ignored, and the receiving process cannot perform any clean-up upon receiving this signal.


The SIGSTOP signal instructs the operating system to stop a process for later resumption.

  • You might also like to now that SIGINT is a signal that is issued when you press CTRL+C at the terminal. SIGSTOP is NOT a signal that is send when you press CTRL+Z - this one is actually SIGTSTP and contrary to SIGSTOP can by ignored by a process.
    – shellbro
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 9:26

SIGKILL kills a process and cannot be caught

SIGTERM kills a process but can be caught to do a graceful exit

SIGSTOP suspends the process until you do a SIGCONT

  • Was curious when SIGTERM was actually used. If a process receives SIGTERM, some other process sent that signal. source Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 19:27

As the name suggests, SIGKILL kill the process instead of SIGSTOP which stop the process until the SIGCONT be called (to continue the process).

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