Bash Trap Command

It often comes the situations that you want to catch a special signal/interruption/user input in your script to prevent the unpredictables.

Trap is your command to try:

  • trap <arg/function> <signal>


# notice you cannot make Ctrl-C work in this shell, 
# try with your local one, also remeber to chmod -x 
# your local .sh file so you can execute it!

trap "echo Booh!" SIGINT SIGTERM
echo "it's going to run until you hit Ctrl+Z"
echo "hit Ctrl+C to be blown away!"

while true:         
    sleep 60       

Surely you can substitute the "echo Booh!" with a function:

function booh {
    echo "booh!"

and call it in trap:


Some of the common signal types you can trap:

  • SIGINT: user sends an interrupt signal (Ctrl + C)

  • SIGQUIT: user sends a quit signal (Ctrl + C)

  • SIGFPE: attempted an illegal mathematical operation

You can check out all signal types by entering the following command:

kill -l

Notice the numbers before each signal name, you can use that number to avoid typing long strings in trap:

#2 corresponds to SIGINT and 15 corresponds to SIGTERM
trap booh 2 15

one of the common usage of trap is to do cleanup temporary files:

trap "rm -f folder; exit" 2


There is no exercise for this section.