Last Updated: February 25, 2016
· Chip Castle

What is the physical current directory in UNIX or Linux?

So let's say I'm on my iMac and I change into the /var directory.

Guess what? That's not the true or physical location on the file system.

Just try this and you'll be deceived:


That command returns this:


But that doesn't resolve all of the symbolic links, so it's not the true location.

To do that, pass the -P flag to the command:

pwd -P

Which now returns the true location:


This is useful if you're ever deep in a directory structure that is symlinked, you can always check your sanity and be sure of exactly where you are on the system.

For more UNIX tips, please check out
Learning the UNIX Command Line.