wc -- word, line, character, and byte count
wc [-clmw] [file ...]
The wc utility displays the number of lines, words, and bytes 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
-l The number of lines in each input file is written to the standard
-m The number of characters in each input file is written to the
standard output. If the current locale does not support multibyte
characters, this is equivalent to the -c option.
-w The number of words in each input file is written to the standard
When an option is specified, wc only reports the information requested by
that option. The default action is equivalent to specifying the -c, -l
and -w options.
If no files are specified, the standard input is used and no file name is
The LANG, LC_ALL and LC_CTYPE environment variables affect the execution
of wc as described in environ(7).
Count the number of characters, words and lines in each of the files
report1 and report2 as well as the totals for both:
wc -mlw report1 report2
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 characters 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 implementation 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 wc utility conforms to IEEE Std 1003.1-2001 (``POSIX.1'').
A wc command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
FreeBSD 5.2.1 June 13, 2002 FreeBSD 5.2.1 [ Back ]