The exit builtin command


exit [N]


The exit command terminates the current shell (or script).

If N is given, the return code to the parent process is set to N. If not, the returned status the the status of the most recently executed command (i.e. $?).

A trap on EXIT is executed before the shell exits, except the executed exit command is part of an already running trap.


There are no options.

Exit status

Naturally, you can't ask for the exit status from within the shell that executed the exit command, because the shell exits.

Status Reason
255 invalid (e.g. non-numeric) argument - this staus is returned to the parent


Exit the shell and explicitely set its exit status

exit 3

Portability considerations

  • if N is specified, but its value is not between 0 and 255 inclusively, the exit status is undefined.

See also


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