WC(1) BSD General Commands Manual WC(1)
wc -- word, line, and byte count
wc [-c | -m] [-Llw] [file ...]
The wc utility displays the number of lines, words, bytes and characters contained in each
input file (or standard input, by default) to the standard output. A line is defined as a
string of characters delimited by a <newline> character, and a word is defined as a string
of characters delimited by white space characters. White space characters are the set of
characters for which the iswspace(3) function returns true. If more than one input file is
specified, a line of cumulative counts for all the files is displayed on a separate line
after the output for the last file.
The following options are available:
-c The number of bytes in each input file is written to the standard output.
-L The number of characters in the longest line of each input file is written to the
-l The number of lines in each input file is written to the standard output.
-m The number of characters in each input file is written to the standard output.
-w The number of words in each input file is written to the standard output.
When an option is specified, wc only reports the information requested by that option. The
default action is equivalent to all the flags -clw having been specified.
The following operands are available:
file A pathname of an input file.
If no file names are specified, the standard input is used and no file name is displayed.
By default, the standard output contains a line for each input file of the form:
lines words bytes file_name
The wc utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
Historically, the wc utility was documented to define a word as a ``maximal string of char-
acters delimited by <space>, <tab> or <newline> characters''. The implementation, however,
didn't handle non-printing characters correctly so that `` ^D^E '' counted as 6 spaces,
while ``foo^D^Ebar'' counted as 8 characters. 4BSD systems after 4.3BSD modified the imple-
mentation to be consistent with the documentation. This implementation defines a ``word''
in terms of the iswspace(3) function, as required by IEEE Std 1003.2 (``POSIX.2'').
The -L option is a non-standard extension, compatible with the -L option of the GNU and
FreeBSD wc utilities.
The wc utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.2-1992 (``POSIX.2'').
BSD February 18, 2010 BSD