How To Remove A File That Begins With A Hyphen '-'

Table of Contents

BACKGROUND

In error, maybe due to a typo, the directory ends up containing a file that begins the a hyphen '-'. Other than removing the whole directory, removing a file with such a name can prove troublesome as Unix most command options are signified by the use of hyphen '-' too.

There is however a little documented Unix option that can actually negate, or switch off the use hyphens as option indicators and cause them to be treated as literal characters. It is the option hyphen, hyphen ''.

EXAMPLE

      cd mydir

      ls

      -typofile
      goodfile1
      goodfile2

      rm -typofile

      rm: illegal option -- t
      rm: illegal option -- y
      rm: illegal option -- p
      rm: illegal option -- o
      rm: illegal option -- l
      rm: illegal option -- e
      usage: rm [-fiRr] file ...

      rm -- -typofile

      ls

      goodfile1
      goodfile2
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