Bash - Enable, disable or print Builtin command

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Enable, disable and print builtin shell commands.


enable [-adnps] [-f filename] [name ...]
  • -n disable the name; otherwise, names are by default enabled.
  • -f means to load the new builtin command name from shared object filename, on systems that support dynamic loading.
  • -d will delete a builtin previously loaded with -f.
  • -p alon with a and s print a list of shell builtins. See list

Return value

The return value is 0 unless a name is not a shell builtin or there is an error loading a new builtin from a shared object.



For example, to use the test binary found via the PATH instead of the shell builtin version, run enable -n test.


Disabling a builtin allows a disk command which has the same name as a shell builtin to be executed without specifying a full pathname, even though the shell normally searches for builtins before disk commands.


If no name arguments are given, or if the -p option is supplied, a list of shell builtins is printed.

  • With no other option arguments, the list consists of all enabled shell builtins.
  • If -n is supplied, only disabled builtins are printed.
  • If -a is supplied, the list printed includes all builtins, with an indication of whether or not each is enabled.
  • If -s is supplied, the output is restricted to the POSIX special builtins.

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