This section describes the many symbols used by tcsh. The topics are arranged as follows:

  • Special files

  • Filename metacharacters

  • Quoting

  • Command forms

  • Redirection forms

Special Files



~/.tcshrc or ~/.cshrc

Executed at each instance of shell startup. If no ~/.tcshrc is found, tcsh uses ~/.cshrc if present.


Executed by login shell after .tcshrc at login.


Executed by login shell after .login.


Executed by login shell at logout.


Source of home directories for ~ name abbreviations.

Filename Metacharacters




Match any string of 0 or more characters.


Match any single character.

[ abc ...]

Match any one of the enclosed characters; a hyphen can be used to specify a range (e.g., a-z, A-Z, 0-9).

{ abc,xxx,...}

Expand each comma-separated string inside braces.


Home directory for the current user.

~ name

Home directory of user name.


% ls new*          
                  Match new and new.1
% cat ch?          
                  Match ch9 but not ch10
% vi [D-R]*        
                  Match files that begin with uppercase D through R
% ls {ch,app}?     
                  Expand, then match ch1, ch2, app1, app2
% cd ~tom          
                  Change to tom's home directory


Quoting disables a character’s special meaning and allows it to be used literally, as itself. The characters in the following table have special meaning to tcsh.




Command separator


Background execution

( )

Command grouping



* ? [ ] ~

Filename metacharacters ...

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