When I type find . -name "so*" I get all these results:


But when I type find ./* -name "so*" I only get ./sort.

From what I know when I use . in the command I am asking to find files that begin with "so" in my current directory, but when I use ./* it displays only the ./sort file and doesn't display the hidden files, so I am wondering what adding /* actually does and how it changes my query/instruction.

  • 3
    Both . and ./ refer to the current directory - I think maybe your confusion is because find by default returns all files (including hidden ones) whereas the shell glob * expands only to non-hidden files by default (in bash, you can modify that behaviour using the dotglob shell option). Also find descends recursively of course. Aug 30, 2020 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


find . means search from the current directory.

find ./* means search from all files and directories in the current directory that are matched by a *.

However, the * is expanded by the shell, so that find thinks you really typed a command like:

find ./sort ./another-dir ./another-file ./etc -name "so*"

Your observation is correct. By default, a leading * excludes files or directories beginning with a ., so they are never even seen by find. This is not just hidden files, but also the current and parent directories, so .* usually isn't a good idea!

  • Why does the OP get fewer results with ./*?
    – Zanna
    Aug 30, 2020 at 18:53

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