User Tools

Site Tools




fnmatch - match filename or path name


#include <fnmatch.h>

int fnmatch(const char *pattern, const char *string, int flags);


The fnmatch() function matches patterns as described on the fnmatch(7) manual page. It checks the string argument to see if it matches the pattern argument.

The flags argument modifies the interpretation of pattern and string. It is the bitwise inclusive OR of zero or more of the following flags defined in the header <fnmatch.h>.


If set, a slash (/) character in string will be explicitly matched by a slash in pattern; it will not be matched by either the asterisk (*) or question-mark (?) special characters, nor by a bracket ([]) expression.

If not set, the slash character is treated as an ordinary character.


An alias of FNM_PATHNAME provided for a better compatibility with other operating systems.


If not set, a backslash character (\) in pattern followed by any other character will match that second character in string. In particular, “\\” will match a backslash in string.

If set, a backslash character will be treated as an ordinary character.


If set, a leading period in string will match a period in pattern; where the location of “leading” is indicated by the value of FNM_PATHNAME:

oIf FNM_PATHNAME is set, a period is “leading” if it is the first character in string or if it immediately follows a slash.
oIf FNM_PATHNAME is not set, a period is “leading” only if it is the first character of string.

If not set, no special restrictions are placed on matching a period.


If set, during matching, case is ignored yielding case-insensitive matching on characters based on the case folding defined for the current locale or, if that does not exist, tolower case conversions of the current locale.


An alias of FNM_IGNORECASE provided for a better compatibility with other operating systems.


If set, matching is done with string only until all pattern expressions in pattern argument are consumed. Any remaining characters at string starting with slash character (/) are simply ignored and do not affect the matching result.


If string matches the pattern specified by pattern, then fnmatch() returns 0. If there is no match, fnmatch() returns FNM_NOMATCH, which is defined in the header <fnmatch.h>. If an error occurs, fnmatch() returns another non-zero value.


The fnmatch() function has two major uses. It could be used by an application or utility that needs to read a directory and apply a pattern against each entry. The find(1) utility is an example of this. It can also be used by the pax(1) utility to process its pattern operands, or by applications that need to match strings in a similar manner.

The name fnmatch() is intended to imply filename match, rather than pathname match. The default action of this function is to match filenames, rather than path names, since it gives no special significance to the slash character. With the FNM_PATHNAME flag, fnmatch() does match path names, but without tilde expansion, parameter expansion, or special treatment for period at the beginning of a filename.

While the FNM_CASEFOLD, FNM_FILE_NAME, FNM_IGNORECASE, and FNM_LEADING_DIR flags are provided and supported for a better compatibility with some other operating systems, use of them may make your program source code slightly less portable and portable only to the operating systems that support the mentioned flags.


Example 1 A path name matching

The following example matches all file names under /opt/MyApp1.0/ that end with data:

result = fnmatch(“/opt/MyApp1.0/*.data”, pname, FNM_PATHNAME);

Example 2 A case-insensitive file name matching

The following example matches file names pointed to by fname that has myfile as prefix in any case combination:

result = fnmatch(“myfile*”, fname, FNM_IGNORECASE);

Example 3 Match all path names with a common set of parent names

The following example matches path names pointed to by pname that has a common set of parent path names of /opt/l*/MyApps and, in doing so, also ensures slash characters are explicitly matched:

result = fnmatch(“/opt/l*/MyApps”, pname, (FNM_PATHNAME | FNM_LEADING_DIR));

For instance, the above will match /opt/lib/MyApps/test/test.txt and /opt/local/MyApps/config but not /opt/lib/locale/MyApps.


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:


find(1), pax(1), glob(3C), setlocale(3C), wordexp(3C), attributes(7), fnmatch(7), standards(7)

solaris/fnmatch.3c.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/19 08:58 by A User Not Logged in