find is one of the standard unix/linux utilities. On my system it lives in /usr/bin (heh, do a locate find or which find to find your find :).
I rarely use it actually, because locate and which have very simple syntax. On the other hand, find is way more powerful (and therefore the syntax is more complex).

Among other godly things, find can execute a particular command on every item that you find. For example - I wanted to clear all the temporary swap files made by gvim today. I briefly considered doing it manualy (as I have done before). But I've decided a few minutes (more like an hour) crawling through the docs would be better. As I mentioned, find can execute a command on all the matches. By default it is -print. That is,
find . -iname "*.pl" will be the same as find . -iname "*.pl" -print. Of course any command can be placed in place of -print. To use my example from above, if I wanted to remove all .*.swo and .*.swp vim swap files I would do the following: find . -iname ".*.sw?" -exec rm -i '{}' \; . To explain briefly: {} is going to be replaced with a file match. ; signifies the end of the command. Use the slashes to escape what the shell might consider special characters.


Note: Never ever run commands that you don't understand, or have doubts about (duh). In particular in mylo's writeup above, find will pipe every file on your harddrive to rm. I bet you know what that means.

And then there was the MS-DOS find command,
which had no relationship to the Unix find command.
MS-DOS's find was a sort of a pale, nearly-useless imitation of fgrep
(that is, searching for a fixed pattern,
not a regexp like grep).

Find (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Found (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Finding.] [AS. findan; akin to D. vinden, OS. & OHG. findan, G. finden, Dan. finde, icel. & Sw. finna, Goth. finan; and perh. to L. petere to seek, Gr. to fall, Skr. pat to fall, fly, E. petition.]

1.

To meet with, or light upon, accidentally; to gain the first sight or knowledge of, as of something new, or unknown; hence, to fall in with, as a person.

Searching the window for a flint, I found This paper, thus sealed up. Shak.

In woods and forests thou art found. Cowley.

2.

To learn by experience or trial; to perceive; to experience; to discover by the intellect or the feelings; to detect; to feel.

"I find you passing gentle."

Shak.

The torrid zone is now found habitable. Cowley.

3.

To come upon by seeking; as, to find something lost.

(a)

To discover by sounding; as, to find bottom.

(b)

To discover by study or experiment direct to an object or end; as, water is found to be a compound substance.

(c)

To gain, as the object of desire or effort; as, to find leisure; to find means.

(d)

To attain to; to arrive at; to acquire.

Seek, and ye shall find. Matt. vii. 7.

Every mountain now hath found a tongue. Byron.

4.

To provide for; to supply; to furnish; as, to find food for workemen; he finds his nephew in money.

Wages �x9c;14 and all found. London Times.

Nothing a day and find yourself. Dickens.
<-- obsolete?? -->

5.

To arrive at, as a conclusion; to determine as true; to establish; as, to find a verdict; to find a true bill (of indictment) against an accused person.

To find his title with some shows of truth. Shak.

To find out, to detect (a thief); to discover (a secret) -- to solve or unriddle (a parable or enigma); to understand. "Canst thou by searching find out God?" Job. xi. 7. "We do hope to find out all your tricks." Milton. -- To find fault with, to blame; to censure. -- To find one's self, to be; to fare; -- often used in speaking of health; as, how do you find yourself this morning?

 

© Webster 1913.


Find (?), v. i. Law

To determine an issue of fact, and to declare such a determination to a court; as, the jury find for the plaintiff.

Burrill.

 

© Webster 1913.


Find, n.

Anything found; a discovery of anything valuable; especially, a deposit, discovered by archaeologists, of objects of prehistoric or unknown origin.

 

© Webster 1913.

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