FNMATCH(P) POSIX Programmer's Manual FNMATCH(P)
fnmatch - match a filename or a pathname
int fnmatch(const char *pattern, const char *string, int flags);
The fnmatch() function shall match patterns as described in the Shell and Utilities volume
of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 2.13.1, Patterns Matching a Single Character, and Section
2.13.2, Patterns Matching Multiple Characters. It checks the string specified by the
string argument to see if it matches the pattern specified by the pattern argument.
The flags argument shall modify the interpretation of pattern and string. It is the bit-
wise-inclusive OR of zero or more of the flags defined in <fnmatch.h>. If the FNM_PATHNAME
flag is set in flags, then a slash character ( '/' ) in string shall be explicitly matched
by a slash in pattern; it shall not be matched by either the asterisk or question-mark
special characters, nor by a bracket expression. If the FNM_PATHNAME flag is not set, the
slash character shall be treated as an ordinary character.
If FNM_NOESCAPE is not set in flags, a backslash character ( '\' ) in pattern followed by
any other character shall match that second character in string. In particular, "\\" shall
match a backslash in string. If FNM_NOESCAPE is set, a backslash character shall be
treated as an ordinary character.
If FNM_PERIOD is set in flags, then a leading period ( '.' ) in string shall match a
period in pattern; as described by rule 2 in the Shell and Utilities volume of
IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, Section 2.13.3, Patterns Used for Filename Expansion where the loca-
tion of "leading" is indicated by the value of FNM_PATHNAME:
* If FNM_PATHNAME is set, a period is "leading" if it is the first character in string or
if it immediately follows a slash.
* If FNM_PATHNAME is not set, a period is "leading" only if it is the first character of
If FNM_PERIOD is not set, then no special restrictions are placed on matching a period.
If string matches the pattern specified by pattern, then fnmatch() shall return 0. If
there is no match, fnmatch() shall return FNM_NOMATCH, which is defined in <fnmatch.h>.
If an error occurs, fnmatch() shall return another non-zero value.
No errors are defined.
The following sections are informative.
The fnmatch() function has two major uses. It could be used by an application or utility
that needs to read a directory and apply a pattern against each entry. The find utility is
an example of this. It can also be used by the pax utility to process its pattern oper-
ands, or by applications that need to match strings in a similar manner.
The name fnmatch() is intended to imply filename match, rather than pathname match. The
default action of this function is to match filenames, rather than pathnames, since it
gives no special significance to the slash character. With the FNM_PATHNAME flag,
fnmatch() does match pathnames, but without tilde expansion, parameter expansion, or spe-
cial treatment for a period at the beginning of a filename.
This function replaced the REG_FILENAME flag of regcomp() in early proposals of this vol-
ume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001. It provides virtually the same functionality as the regcomp()
and regexec() functions using the REG_FILENAME and REG_FSLASH flags (the REG_FSLASH flag
was proposed for regcomp(), and would have had the opposite effect from FNM_PATHNAME), but
with a simpler function and less system overhead.
glob() , wordexp() , the Base Definitions volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001, <fnmatch.h>, the
Shell and Utilities volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std
1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System
Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group
Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The orig-
inal Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
IEEE/The Open Group 2003 FNMATCH(P)