BSD 2.11 - man page for hostname (bsd section 7)

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HOSTNAME(7)									      HOSTNAME(7)

       hostname - host name resolution description

       Hostnames are domains, where a domain is a hierarchical, dot-separated list of subdomains;
       for example, the machine monet, in the Berkeley subdomain of  the  EDU  subdomain  of  the
       ARPANET would be represented as
       (with no trailing dot).

       Hostnames  are  often  used  with network client and server programs, which must generally
       translate the name to an address for use.  (This function is generally  performed  by  the
       library	routine  gethostbyname(3).)  Hostnames are resolved by the internet name resolver
       in the following fashion.

       If the name consists of a single component, i.e. contains no dot, and if  the  environment
       variable ``HOSTALIASES'' is set to the name of a file, that file is searched for an string
       matching the input hostname.  The file should consist of lines made up of two  white-space
       separated  strings,  the  first of which is the hostname alias, and the second of which is
       the complete hostname to be substituted for that alias.	 If  a	case-sensitive	match  is
       found  between  the hostname to be resolved and the first field of a line in the file, the
       substituted name is looked up with no further processing.

       If the input name ends with a trailing dot, the trailing dot is removed, and the remaining
       name is looked up with no further processing.

       If  the	input  name does not end with a trailing dot, it is looked up in the local domain
       and its parent domains until either a match is found or fewer than  2  components  of  the
       local  domain  remain.  For example, in the domain CS.Berkeley.EDU, the name lithium.CChem
       will be checked first as lithium.CChem.CS.Berkeley.EDU and  then  as  lithium.CChem.Berke-
       ley.EDU.   Lithium.CChem.EDU will not be tried, as the there is only one component remain-
       ing from the local domain.

       gethostbyname(3), resolver(5), mailaddr(7), named(8), RFC883

4.2 Berkeley Distribution		November 21, 1987			      HOSTNAME(7)
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