unalias - Linux


The unalias command in Linux is a shell builtin used to remove aliases created with the alias command. An alias is a shorthand or a nickname for a command or a set of commands, intended to reduce typing and make complex command sequences easier to remember. Using unalias, users can remove these shortcuts, which is particularly useful for scripting or resetting the shell environment to its default state.


The basic syntax for unalias is:

unalias [options] alias_name ...
  • alias_name: the name of the alias that you want to remove.

Multiple aliases can be removed at once by specifying them separated by space.


unalias supports very few options, keeping its usage straightforward:

  • -a: Remove all alias definitions from the current shell session. This option is useful for completely clearing the shell of all aliases.


  1. Remove a Single Alias:
    To remove an alias named lst, you would use:

    unalias lst
  2. Remove Multiple Aliases:
    To remove multiple aliases at once, for example lst and rmf, you can specify:

    unalias lst rmf
  3. Remove All Aliases:
    To clear all set aliases within the current shell session:

    unalias -a

Common Issues

  • Alias Not Found: If you try to unalias a name that isn’t currently an alias, you may encounter an error. Ensure the alias exists with alias command before trying to remove it.
  • Read-Only Aliases: Some system aliases might be marked as read-only and cannot be removed with unalias. These typically require administrative privileges or changes to system files.


The unalias command can be used in scripts to ensure that no user-defined aliases interfere with the script’s operations. Here is an example script where unalias is used for ensuring default behavior:

# Clear any aliases that might affect script execution
unalias -a

# Proceed with commands that need their standard behavior
cp folder1 folder2

It is also used interactively to resolve conflicts or confusion within a shell session due to unexpectedly modified commands via aliases.

  • alias: The counterpart to unalias, used to create new aliases.
  • printenv, env: Useful for seeing environment variables, which can also include alias definitions when exported.

For more in-depth details and the latest updates, refer to the shell’s manual using man bash or visit the GNU Bash Reference Manual.