PKILL(1) BSD General Commands Manual PKILL(1)NAME
pgrep, pkill — find or signal processes by name
pgrep [-LSafilnovx] [-F pidfile] [-G gid] [-M core] [-N system] [-P ppid]
[-U uid] [-d delim] [-g pgrp] [-j jid] [-s sid] [-t tty] [-u euid]
pkill [-signal] [-ILafilnovx] [-F pidfile] [-G gid] [-M core] [-N system]
[-P ppid] [-U uid] [-g pgrp] [-j jid] [-s sid] [-t tty] [-u euid]
The pgrep command searches the process table on the running system and
prints the process IDs of all processes that match the criteria given on
the command line.
The pkill command searches the process table on the running system and
signals all processes that match the criteria given on the command line.
The following options are available:
-F pidfile Restrict matches to a process whose PID is stored in the
-G gid Restrict matches to processes with a real group ID in the
comma-separated list gid.
-I Request confirmation before attempting to signal each
-L The pidfile file given for the -F option must be locked with
the flock(2) syscall or created with pidfile(3).
-M core Extract values associated with the name list from the speci‐
fied core instead of the currently running system.
-N system Extract the name list from the specified system instead of
the default, which is the kernel image the system has booted
-P ppid Restrict matches to processes with a parent process ID in the
comma-separated list ppid.
-S Search also in system processes (kernel threads).
-U uid Restrict matches to processes with a real user ID in the
comma-separated list uid.
-d delim Specify a delimiter to be printed between each process ID.
The default is a newline. This option can only be used with
the pgrep command.
-a Include process ancestors in the match list. By default, the
current pgrep or pkill process and all of its ancestors are
excluded (unless -v is used).
-f Match against full argument lists. The default is to match
against process names.
-g pgrp Restrict matches to processes with a process group ID in the
comma-separated list pgrp. The value zero is taken to mean
the process group ID of the running pgrep or pkill command.
-i Ignore case distinctions in both the process table and the
-j jid Restrict matches to processes inside jails with a jail ID in
the comma-separated list jid. The value “any” matches pro‐
cesses in any jail. The value “none” matches processes not
-l Long output. For pgrep, print the process name in addition
to the process ID for each matching process. If used in con‐
junction with -f, print the process ID and the full argument
list for each matching process. For pkill, display the kill
command used for each process killed.
-n Select only the newest (most recently started) of the match‐
-o Select only the oldest (least recently started) of the match‐
-s sid Restrict matches to processes with a session ID in the comma-
separated list sid. The value zero is taken to mean the ses‐
sion ID of the running pgrep or pkill command.
-t tty Restrict matches to processes associated with a terminal in
the comma-separated list tty. Terminal names may be of the
form ttyxx or the shortened form xx. A single dash (‘-’)
matches processes not associated with a terminal.
-u euid Restrict matches to processes with an effective user ID in
the comma-separated list euid.
-v Reverse the sense of the matching; display processes that do
not match the given criteria.
-x Require an exact match of the process name, or argument list
if -f is given. The default is to match any substring.
-signal A non-negative decimal number or symbolic signal name speci‐
fying the signal to be sent instead of the default TERM.
This option is valid only when given as the first argument to
If any pattern operands are specified, they are used as regular expres‐
sions to match the command name or full argument list of each process.
If the -f option is not specified, then the pattern will attempt to match
the command name. However, presently FreeBSD will only keep track of the
first 19 characters of the command name for each process. Attempts to
match any characters after the first 19 of a command name will quietly
Note that a running pgrep or pkill process will never consider itself nor
system processes (kernel threads) as a potential match.
The pgrep and pkill utilities return one of the following values upon
0 One or more processes were matched.
1 No processes were matched.
2 Invalid options were specified on the command line.
3 An internal error occurred.
Historically the option “-j 0” means any jail, although in other utili‐
ties such as ps(1) jail ID 0 has the opposite meaning, not in jail.
Therefore “-j 0” is deprecated, and its use is discouraged in favor of
SEE ALSOkill(1), killall(1), ps(1), flock(2), kill(2), sigaction(2), pidfile(3),
The pkill and pgrep utilities first appeared in NetBSD 1.6. They are
modelled after utilities of the same name that appeared in Sun Solaris 7.
They made their first appearance in FreeBSD 5.3.
Andrew Doran ⟨ad@NetBSD.org⟩
BSD May 16, 2009 BSD