> Linux Man Page: "kill"


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The Linux Documentation Project maintains an archive of snaphots of the (English language) core Linux manual pages that are maintained by Michael Kerrisk. Corrections and additions are welcome, but review the "Help Wanted" list, first.

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kill - terminate a process


kill [ -s signal | -p ] [ -a ] [ -- ] pid ... kill -l [ signal ]


The command kill sends the specified signal to the specified process or process group. If no signal is specified, the TERM signal is sent. The TERM signal will kill processes which do not catch this signal. For other processes, it may be necessary to use the KILL (9) signal, since this signal cannot be caught.

Most modern shells have a builtin kill function, with a usage rather similar to that of the command described here. The ‘-a’ and ‘-p’ options, and the possibility to specify pids by command name is a local extension.


pid... Specify the list of processes that kill should signal. Each pid can be one of five things:

where n is larger than 0. The process with pid n will be signaled.

All processes in the current process group are signaled.

All processes with pid larger than 1 will be signaled.

where n is larger than 1. All processes in process group n are signaled. When an argument of the form ‘-n’ is given, and it is meant to denote a process group, either the signal must be specified first, or the argument must be preceded by a ‘--’ option, otherwise it will be taken as the signal to send.

All processes invoked using that name will be signaled.

-s signal
Specify the signal to send. The signal may be given as a signal name or number.

Print a list of signal names. These are found in /usr/include/linux/signal.h

Do not restrict the commandname-to-pid conversion to processes with the same uid as the present process.

Specify that kill should only print the process id (pid) of the named processes, and not send any signals.

See Also

bash(1) , tcsh(1) , kill(2) , sigvec(2) , signal(7)


Taken from BSD 4.4. The ability to translate process names to process ids was added by Salvatore Valente <>.


The kill command is part of the util-linux-ng package and is available from

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