For example, what would it mean to say:

cd ~/mydirectory


2 Answers 2


~ is a shortcut for the home directory, so

cd ~/mydirectory 

Will move to mydirectory if there is such a directory in your home folder, otherwise it will throw a directory does not exist error.


enter image description here

Your home directory is located at /home/<username>.

Trivia: This is why the default bash prompt has a tilde in it like this user@host:~$. The tilde indicates that you are currently in your home directory. If you move somewhere else, for example into /etc it will show user@host:/etc$.

  • 2
    I've always used $HOME instead, for clarity and because some programs don't expand a tilde.
    – kiri
    Feb 6, 2014 at 20:59

It's shorthand for your home directory. For example, my desktop directory is at




for short.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .