AskDefine | Define find

Dictionary Definition



1 a productive insight [syn: discovery, breakthrough]
2 the act of discovering something [syn: discovery, uncovering]


1 come upon, as if by accident; meet with; "We find this idea in Plato"; "I happened upon the most wonderful bakery not very far from here"; "She chanced upon an interesting book in the bookstore the other day" [syn: happen, chance, bump, encounter]
2 discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of; "She detected high levels of lead in her drinking water"; "We found traces of lead in the paint" [syn: detect, observe, discover, notice]
3 come upon after searching; find the location of something that was missed or lost; "Did you find your glasses?"; "I cannot find my gloves!" [syn: regain] [ant: lose]
4 after a calculation, investigation, experiment, survey, or study; "find the product of two numbers"; "The physicist who found the elusive particle won the Nobel Prize" [syn: determine, find out, ascertain]
5 come to believe on the basis of emotion, intuitions, or indefinite grounds; "I feel that he doesn't like me"; "I find him to be obnoxious"; "I found the movie rather entertaining" [syn: feel]
6 perceive or be contemporaneous with; "We found Republicans winning the offices"; "You'll see a lot of cheating in this school"; "I want to see results"; "The 1960 saw the rebellion of the younger generation against established traditions"; "I want to see results" [syn: witness, see]
7 get something or somebody for a specific purpose; "I found this gadget that will serve as a bottle opener"; "I got hold of these tools to fix our plumbing"; "The chairman got hold of a secretary on Friday night to type the urgent letter" [syn: line up, get hold, come up]
8 make a discovery, make a new finding; "Roentgen discovered X-rays"; "Physicists believe they found a new elementary particle" [syn: discover]
9 make a discovery; "She found that he had lied to her"; "The story is false, so far as I can discover" [syn: discover]
10 obtain through effort or management; "She found the time and energy to take care of her aging parents"; "We found the money to send our sons to college"
11 decide on and make a declaration about; "find someone guilty" [syn: rule]
12 receive a specified treatment (abstract); "These aspects of civilization do not find expression or receive an interpretation"; "His movie received a good review"; "I got nothing but trouble for my good intentions" [syn: receive, get, obtain, incur]
13 perceive oneself to be in a certain condition or place; "I found myself in a difficult situation"; "When he woke up, he found himself in a hospital room"
14 get or find back; recover the use of; "She regained control of herself"; "She found her voice and replied quickly" [syn: recover, retrieve, regain]
15 succeed in reaching; arrive at; "The arrrow found its mark"
16 accept and make use of one's personality, abilities, and situation; "My son went to Berkeley to find himself" [syn: find oneself] [also: found]

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl ang findan, from . Cognate with Dutch vinden, German finden, Swedish finna.


  • , /faɪnd/, /faInd/
  • Rhymes: -aɪnd



  1. To encounter, to discover.
    Project Gutenberg finds that Find is the 190th most important word in the English language.
    I found my car keys -- they were under the couch.
  2. To point out.
    He kept finding faults with my work.
  3. To decide that, to form the opinion that.
    I find your argument unsatisfactory.
  4. To determine or judge.
    The jury finds for the defendant

Derived terms

See also finding and'' found


  • Arabic: وَجَدَ
  • Crimean Tatar: tapmaq
  • Czech: nalézt, najít
  • Danish: finde, træffe
  • Dutch: vinden, aantreffen
  • Esperanto: trovi
  • Finnish: löytää
  • French: trouver
  • German: finden
  • Hebrew: לימצוא
  • Icelandic: finna
  • Irish: faigh
  • Italian: trovare
  • Japanese: 発見する (はっけんする, hakken-suru), 見つける(みつける,mitsukeru)
  • Kurdish: ,
  • Latin: invenire
  • Latvian: atrast
  • Lithuanian: surasti
  • Mongolian: олох
  • Polish: znajdować
  • Portuguese: achar, encontrar
  • Romanian: găsi
  • Russian: найти
  • Slovene: najti
  • Spanish: encontrar, hallar
  • Swedish: finna, hitta, uppdaga, upptäcka, utröna
point out
  • Danish: finde, udpege
  • Dutch: vinden, ontdekken
  • Finnish: osoittaa
  • Japanese: 指摘する (してきする, shiteki-suru)
  • Portuguese: achar, encontrar
  • Russian: выискивать
  • Swedish: finna, hitta
decide that
determine, judge
  • Danish: dømme
  • Dutch: achten
  • Esperanto: juĝi
  • Japanese: 評決する (ひょうけつする, hyōketsu-suru)
  • Russian: находить
  • Spanish: determinar, juzgar
  • Swedish: finna, konstatera


  1. Anything that is found, especially by good fortune.


  • (anything found, especially by good fortune): discovery


anything that is found, especially by good fortune
  • Danish: fund
  • Dutch: vondst
  • Esperanto: trovaĵo, trovitaĵo
  • Finnish: löytö
  • French: trouvaille
  • Icelandic: fundur
  • Polish: znalezisko
  • Romanian: descoperire
  • Russian: находка
  • Spanish: hallazgo
  • Swedish: fynd

Extensive Definition

The find program is a directory search utility on Unix-like platforms. It searches through one or more directory trees of a filesystem, locating files based on some user-specified criteria. By default, find returns all files below the current working directory. Further, find allows the user to specify an action to be taken on each matched file. Thus, it is an extremely powerful program for applying actions to many files. It also supports regex matching.
The find program is no longer preferred for searching for files by name in the entire filesystem. Instead, the locate programs, which use a database of indexed files (obtained through find), are more efficient.

Find syntax

A single white space is needed to divide syntax elements when writing a find command. Otherwise, some usage error will come up.


From current directory

find . -name 'my*' This searches in the current directory (represented by a period) and below it, for files and directories with names starting with my. The quotes avoid the shell expansion - without them the shell would replace my* with the list of files whose names begin with my in the current directory. In newer versions of the program, the directory may be omitted, and it will imply the current directory.

Files only

find . -name "my*" -type f This limits the results of the above search to only regular files, therefore excluding directories, special files, pipes, symbolic links, etc. my* is enclosed in quotes as otherwise the shell would replace it with the list of files in the current directory starting with my...


The previous examples created listings of results because, by default, find executes the '-print' action. (Note that early versions of the find command had no default action at all; therefore the resulting list of files would be discarded, to the bewilderment of users.)
find . -name "my*" -type f -ls This prints an extended file information.

Search all directories

find / -name "myfile" -type f -print This searches every file on the computer for a file with the name myfile. It is generally not a good idea to look for data files this way. This can take a considerable amount of time, so it is best to specify the directory more precisely.

Specify a directory

find /home/weedly -name "myfile" -type f -print This searches for files named myfile in the /home/weedly directory, the home directory for userid weedly. You should always specify the directory to the deepest level you can remember.

Search several directories

find local /tmp -name mydir -type d -print This searches for directories named mydir in the local subdirectory of the current working directory and the /tmp directory.

Ignore errors

If you're doing this as a user other than root, you might want to ignore permission denied (and any other) errors. Since errors are printed to stderr, they can be suppressed by redirecting the output to /dev/null. The following example shows how to do this in the bash shell: find / -name "myfile" -type f -print 2>/dev/null

Find any one of differently named files

find . \( -name "*jsp" -or -name "*java" \) -type f -ls
The -ls option prints extended information, and the example finds any file whose name ends with either 'jsp' or 'java'. Note that the parentheses are required. Also note that the operator "or" can be abbreviated as "o". The "and" operator is assumed where no operator is given. In many shells the parentheses must be escaped with a backslash, "\(" and "\)", to prevent them from being interpreted as special shell characters. The -ls option and the -or operator are not available on all versions of find.

Execute an action

find /var/ftp/mp3 -name "*.mp3" -type f -exec chmod 744 \; This command changes the permissions of all files with a name ending in .mp3 in the directory /var/ftp/mp3. The action is carried out by specifying the option -exec chmod 744 \; in the command. For every file whose name ends in .mp3, the command chmod 744 is executed replacing with the name of the file. The semicolon (backslashed to avoid the shell interpreting it as a command separator) indicates the end of the command. Permission 744, usually shown as rwxr--r--, gives the file owner full permission to read, write, and execute the file, while other users have read-only access. In some shells, the must be quoted.
Note that the command itself should *not* be quoted; otherwise you get error messages like
find: echo "mv ./3bfn rel071204": No such file or directory
which means that find is trying to run a file called 'echo "mv ./3bfn rel071204"' and failing.
If you will be executing over many results, it is more efficient to pipe the results to the xargs command instead.

Search for a string

This command will search for a string in all files from the /tmp directory and below:
find /tmp -exec grep "search string" '' /dev/null \; -print
The /dev/null argument is used to show the name of the file before the text that is found. Without it, only the text found is printed. An equivalent mechanism is to use the "-H" or "--with-filename" option to grep:
find /tmp -exec grep -H "search string" '' \; -print
GNU grep can be used on its own to perform this task:
grep -r "search string" /tmp
Example of search for "LOG" in jsmith's home directory find ~jsmith -exec grep "LOG" '' /dev/null \; -print /home/jsmith/scripts/ $LOG $FIXEDLOGNAME /home/jsmith/scripts/ $LOG /home/jsmith/scripts/title:USER=$LOGNAME
Example of search for the string "ERROR" in all xml files in the current directory and all sub-directories find . -name "*.xml" -exec grep "ERROR" '' \; -print
The double quotes (" ") surrounding the search string and single quotes (' ') surrounding the braces are optional in this example, but needed to allow spaces and other special characters in the string.

Search for all files owned by a user

find . -user

See also

find in German: Find
find in Spanish: Find
find in French: Find
find in Hungarian: Find
find in Japanese: Find
find in Polish: Find
find in Portuguese: Find
find in Russian: Find

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accommodate, accomplish, achieve, acquire, act on, afford, allot, approach, arouse, arrive, arrive at, arrive in, ascertain, assign, attain, attain to, awaken, bargain, be informed, be received, become acquainted with, become aware of, blow in, boast, bob up, bonus, boon, bring to light, bringing to light, broaden the mind, bump into, buried treasure, call up, casual discovery, catch, catch sight of, catching, chance discovery, check in, clock in, clothe, collect, come, come across, come in, come to, come to hand, come up with, command, conclude, condemn, consider, contribute, cram the mind, deal, decide, declare, decree, deduce, derive, descry, detect, detection, determination, determine, determining, diamond, dig up, discern, disclosure, discover, discovery, distinguish, distinguishment, donate, doom, draw a conclusion, draw an inference, encounter, endow, espial, espy, excavation, exhumation, experience, exposure, extract, fall in with, fetch, fetch up at, fill, fill up, find against, find for, find out, find out about, finding, finding out, finger, fix, foundling, fund, furnish, gain, gain knowledge, gather, gather up, gem, get, get back, get hold of, get in, get there, get to, give, glean, godsend, good thing, gravy, hit, hit town, hit upon, hunt down, identify, induce, infer, invent, invention, invest, jewel, judge, keep, lay, learn, learn about, light upon, load the mind, locate, locating, location, lucky strike, maintain, make, make a decision, make available, make it, make provision for, manage, mark, meet with, muster up, note, notice, obtain, order, pass judgment, pass sentence, pearl, perceive, pick up information, plum, point to, pop up, prepare, present, pride, pride and joy, prize, procure, pronounce, pronounce judgment, pronounce on, provide, provide for, pull in, punch in, reach, realize, reason, reason that, recognition, recognize, recoup, recover, recruit, rediscover, rediscovery, regard, remark, replenish, report, repossess, resolve, return a verdict, reveal, revelation, ring in, roll in, rouse, rule, rumble, run down, run to earth, scare up, secure, see, sentence, serendipity, set aside, settle, show up, sight, sign in, spot, spotting, stock, store, strike, subsidize, summon up, supply, support, take as proved, think, time in, trace, trace down, track down, treasure, treasure trove, trophy, trouvaille, trove, tumble to, turn over, turn up, twig, uncover, uncovering, understand, unearth, unearthing, utter a judgment, view, waifs, waifs and strays, win, windfall, windfall money, windfall profit, winner, yield
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