Is there a way to substitute aliases such that it is appended or prepended to an existing command in the shell?

For example, defining the alias:

alias execloc='/home/user/'

Prepending this to a command in the bash terminal:

cd exeloc/temp/somefolder

Can something like this be done, or is there a way to do it?

3 Answers 3


You can't do it like this because /home/user/ is not a command. It't more like a static string.

From man bash (somewhere at line 1984):

Aliases allow a string to be substituted for a word when it is used as the first word of a simple command.

In your case, execloc will never be the first word of a simple command.

But, instead to define execloc as an alias, you can define it as an environment variable:

export execloc='/home/user/'

And then you can use it everywhere you want as follow:

cd $exeloc/temp/somefolder

I don't think so with bash/dash, but I could be wrong. I think it may be possible with 'zsh' (alias -g foo='bar').

But there are some other possibilities.

If you are just wanting more convenient 'cd' commands, you could use CDPATH (google it). Or use symlinks or hardlinks (man ln).

Or modify/create ~/.inputrc with a line like:

Control-f: "grep -r -i .\e[D\e[D\e[D"

This types out a grep command for me and then backspaces to before the dot so I can type ctrl-f and then a word I'm searching for.


You can do it (if I read your question properly) as follows:

export EXECLOG=/home/user

cd $EXECLOG/temp/somefolder

Basically set up your substitutions in the shell and access them by prefixing them with the "$" sign. Standard shell variables.

(exited to fix typo in EXECLOG)

  • Have you seen this answer? Oct 24, 2013 at 7:04
  • Yes, I have - have you tried to run what I suggested? The substitution is done in the shell and will perform the example the OP posted. Oct 24, 2013 at 7:09
  • Ah, now I see - your post contains what I posted as well - so I duplicated your answer. SO although I did see your response, I didn't read it all the way through. Take off the downvote and I'll remove the response. Oct 24, 2013 at 7:13

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