I've been experimenting with pushd and popd in bash (Cygwin, man page says "GNU bash 4.1") and the man page doesn't quite seem to match the behavior.

For pushd, the command

% pushd +1

both rotates the stack and changes the working directory;

% pushd -n +1

just rotates the stack. This seems to match the man page.


% popd +1 

removes an entry from the stack but does NOT change the working directory (even though "-n" was not supplied). This does not seem to match the man page, quoted below:

Arguments, if supplied, have the following meanings:
    -n   Suppresses the normal change of directory when removing directories from the stack, so that only the stack is manipulated.
    +n   Removes the nth entry counting from the left of the list shown by dirs, starting with zero.  For example: “popd +0” removes the first directory, “popd +1” the second.

Is this the way it is supposed to be?

1 Answer 1


I now experiment with popd/pushd and I think that this is how it is supposed to be. The logic is that -n suppresses the change of the directory if it should have been without -n.

popd +N with N not equal to zero does not change the directory. It only removes the element from the stack. So in this situation -n has to do nothing because it has no change to suppress.

On the contrary, if you use popd -n or popd -n +0, the second top element of the stack is removed, rather than that at the very top. Because if you removed the top one, your directory would change. I mean if you have:

 0  ~/one/two/three
 1  ~/one/two
 2  ~/one
 3  ~

when you do popd +0 or popd without -n

your current directory is changed to ~/one/two and the dirs stack is now:

 1  ~/one/two
 2  ~/one
 3  ~

So -n should suppress this behavior. And thus, if, instead you run popd -n +0 or popd -n you are still in your old directory and the dirs stack is now:

 0  ~/one/two/three
 1  ~/one
 2  ~

You can see that the second top element ~/one/two was removed, instead of the very top (so that you could stay in your old directory).

So what I try to highlight here is that the top of your dirs stack is always your current directory. And -n should prevent the change of the directory. So -n should prevent the change of the top of the stack. But if the top of the stack is not changed, the flag -n has nothing to do as it is.

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