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FreeBSD 11.0 - man page for apply (freebsd section 1)

APPLY(1)						    BSD General Commands Manual 						  APPLY(1)

apply -- apply a command to a set of arguments
apply [-a c] [-d] [-#] command argument ...
The apply utility runs the named command on each argument argument in turn. Character sequences of the form ``%d'' in command, where 'd' is a digit from 1 to 9, are replaced by the d'th following unused argument. In this case, the largest digit number of arguments are discarded for each execution of command. The options are as follows: -# Normally arguments are taken singly; the optional number -# specifies the number of arguments to be passed to command. If the number is zero, command is run, without arguments, once for each argument. If any sequences of ``%d'' occur in command, the -# option is ignored. -a c The use of the character '%' as a magic character may be changed with the -a option. -d Display the commands that would have been executed, but do not actually execute them.
The following environment variable affects the execution of apply: SHELL Pathname of shell to use. If this variable is not defined, the Bourne shell is used.
/bin/sh default shell
apply echo * is similar to ls(1); apply -2 cmp a1 b1 a2 b2 a3 b3 compares the `a' files to the `b' files; apply -0 who 1 2 3 4 5 runs who(1) 5 times; and apply 'ln %1 /usr/joe' * links all files in the current directory to the directory /usr/joe.
The apply command appeared in 4.2BSD.
Rob Pike
Shell metacharacters in command may have bizarre effects; it is best to enclose complicated commands in single quotes (''). The apply utility does not recognize multibyte characters.
December 13, 2006 BSD