bash: command not found error [macOS Terminal Linux, Unix or Windows]

bash: command not found is the most common error that someone may encounter while working on a macOS (earlier know as Mac OS X) terminal or any other Unix or Linux based operating system console (or Windows command line with Bash Shell commands enabled).

Let's see some examples and what could be the cause of the issue,

  1. Did you get the command right?

    $ grep '%looking for some text%'

    Output: bash: gerp: command not found

    In the above example you can see that grep is misspelled as gerp, hence the command is actually invalid! If you are unsure if it's a valid command or not look at the below comprehensive list to find one you are trying to use,

    List of valid bash commands: !!, GetFileInfo, ReportCrash, afconvert, afinfo, afplay, airport, alias, alloc, apropos, asr, atsutil, awk, basename, bash, bc, bg, bind, bless, break, builtin, bzip2, caffeinate, cal, calendar, caller, cancel, case, cat, cd, chflags, chgrp, chmod, chown, chroot, cksum, clear, cmp, comm, command, complete, continue, cp, cpio, cron, crontab, csplit, csrutil, curl, cut, date, dc, dd, declare, defaults, df, diff, diff3, dig, dirname, dirs, diskutil, disown, ditto, dot_clean, drutil, dscacheutil, dscl, dseditgroup, dsenableroot, dsmemberutil, du, echo, ed, enable, env, eval, exec, execsnoop, exit, expand, expect, export, expr, fc, fdesetup, fdisk, fg, file, find, fmt, fold, for, fs_usage, fsck, ftp, function, fuser, getopt, getopts, goto, grep, groups, gzip, halt, hash, hdiutil, head, history, hostname, iconv, id, if, ifconfig, info, install, iosnoop, iostat, ipconfig, jobs, join, kextfind, kextstat, kextunload, kickstart, kill, killall, l, last, launchctl, less, let, lipo, ll, ln, local, locate, login, logname, logout, look, lp, lpr, lprm, lpstat, ls, lsbom, lsof, lsregister, man, mdfind, mdls, mdutil, mkdir, mkfifo, mkfile, mktemp, more, mount, mv, nano, nc/netcat, net, netstat, networksetup, nice, nohup, ntfs.util, nvram, onintr, open, opensnoop, openssl, osacompile, osascript, passwd, paste, pbcopy, pbpaste, pgrep, ping, pkgbuild, pkgutil, pkill, plutil, pmset, popd, pr, printenv, printf, ps, pushd, pwd, quota, rcp, read, readonly, reboot, return, rev, rm, rmdir, rpm, rsync, say, screen, screencapture, scselect, scutil, sdiff, security, sed, select, serverinfo, set, setfile, sharing, shasum, shift, shopt, shutdown, sips, sleep, softwareupdate, sort, source, spctl, split, sqlite3, srm, stat, stop, su, sudo, sum, suspend, sw_vers, sysctl, system_profiler, systemsetup, tail, tar, tccutil, tcpdump, tee, test, textutil, time, times, tmutil, top, touch, tput, tr, traceroute, trap, trimforce, tty, type, ufs.util, ulimit, umask, umount, unalias, uname, unexpand, uniq, units, unset, until, until, upsfilter, uptime, users, uucp, uudecode, uuencode, uuidgen, vi, w, wait, wall, wc, whatis, whereis, which, while, who, whoami, write, xargs, xattr, xcode-select, yes, zip

  2. Do you have the command available under /usr/bin folder?
    $ cal
    bash: cal: command not found

    If you are using a utility like git bash for windows you may not have all set of bash commands available.

  3. Is your .bash_profile set correctly?
    bash: ls: command not found
    bash: vi: command not found
    bash: touch: command not found
    bash: mkdir: command not found
    bash: gerp: command not found
    bash: sudo: command not found
    bash: env: command not found

    If none of your commands are working correctly, make sure you have set the file correctly, and has the correct encoding (CR/LF).

  4. Check your PATH variable is rightly set?

    This is the most common reason why it may not work, try echoing PATH variable

    $ echo $PATH /c/Users/c2c/bin:/mingw64/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/mingw64/bin:/usr/bin:/c/Users/c2c/bin:/c/Program Files (x86)/Intel/Intel(R) Management Engine Components/iCLS:/c/Program Files/Intel/Intel(R) Management Engine Components/iCLS:/c/Windows/system32:/c/Windows:/c/Windows/System32/Wbem:/c/Windows/System32/WindowsPowerShell/v1.0:/c/Windows/System32/OpenSSH:/c/Program Files (x86)/NVIDIA Corporation/PhysX/Common:/c/Program Files (x86)/Intel/Intel(R) Management Engine Components/DAL:/c/Program Files/Intel/Intel(R) Management Engine Components/DAL:/c/Program Files (x86)/Intel/Intel(R) Management Engine Components/IPT:/c/Program Files/Intel/Intel(R) Management Engine Components/IPT:/c/Program Files/Intel/WiFi/bin:/c/Program Files/Common Files/Intel/WirelessCommon:/c/WINDOWS/system32:/c/WINDOWS:/c/WINDOWS/System32/Wbem:/c/WINDOWS/System32/WindowsPowerShell/v1.0:/c/WINDOWS/System32/OpenSSH:/c/Users/c2c/AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsApps:/c/Users/c2c/AppData/Local/Programs/Fiddler:/c/Users/c2c/AppData/Local/Programs/Microsoft VS Code/bin:/c/Users/c2c/AppData/Local/Microsoft/WindowsApps:/usr/bin/vendor_perl:/usr/bin/core_perl

  5. Make sure usr/bin path is set correctly (the above example is from Windows - should be the same step for macOS.

    You need to check if the environment variable is set correctly under System Properties ? Advance ? Environment Variables ? System variables ? Look for PATH


  • Helpful! Thank You.
    anon24 24 Aug 2020 11:24:21 GMT
  • I am trying to use the say command using ssh to my very old iPod Touch 2nd generation, but it is giving me - say command not found!... does that imply I do not have the package installed, if yes, how can I get it?
    ask20 01 Aug 2020 12:08:28 GMT
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