WC(1) Commands and Applications WC(1)
wc - word, line, and byte count
wc [-clw] 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 out-
put. A line is defined as a string of characters delimited by a <new-
line> character, and a word is defined as a string of characters delim-
ited by white space characters. White space characters are the set of
characters for which the isspace(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
The following options are available:
-c The number of bytes in each input file is written to the stan-
-l The number of lines in each input file is written to the stan-
-w The number of words in each input file is written to the stan-
When an option is specified, wc only reports the information requested by that
option. The default action is equivalent to specifying all of the flags.
If no files are specified, the standard input is used and no file name is dis-
The wc utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.
This manual page documents wc version 2.0.
This command was ported from FreeBSD source code for distribution with
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 mod-
ified the implementation to be consistent with the documentation. This
implementation defines a ''word'' in terms of the isspace(3) function,
as required by POSIX.2.
The wc function conforms to POSIX.2.
GNO August 1997 WC(1)
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