abbr - manage fish abbreviations


abbr --erase WORD...
abbr --rename [SCOPE] OLD_WORD NEW_WORD
abbr --show
abbr --list
abbr --query WORD...


abbr manages abbreviations - user-defined words that are replaced with longer phrases after they are entered.

For example, a frequently-run command like git checkout can be abbreviated to gco. After entering gco and pressing Space or Enter, the full text git checkout will appear in the command line.


The following options are available:

  • -a WORD EXPANSION or --add WORD EXPANSION Adds a new abbreviation, causing WORD to be expanded to EXPANSION.

  • -r OLD_WORD NEW_WORD or --rename OLD_WORD NEW_WORD Renames an abbreviation, from OLD_WORD to NEW_WORD.

  • -s or --show Show all abbreviations in a manner suitable for export and import.

  • -l or --list Lists all abbreviated words.

  • -e WORD or --erase WORD... Erase the given abbreviations.

  • -q or --query Return 0 (true) if one of the WORDs is an abbreviation.

In addition, when adding or renaming abbreviations:

  • -g or --global to use a global variable.

  • -U or --universal to use a universal variable (default).

See the "Internals" section for more on them.


abbr -a -g gco git checkout

Add a new abbreviation where gco will be replaced with git checkout global to the current shell. This abbreviation will not be automatically visible to other shells unless the same command is run in those shells (such as when executing the commands in

abbr -a -U l less

Add a new abbreviation where l will be replaced with less universal so all shells. Note that you omit the -U since it is the default.

abbr -r gco gch

Renames an existing abbreviation from gco to gch.

abbr -e gco

Erase the gco abbreviation.

ssh another_host abbr -s | source

Import the abbreviations defined on another_host over SSH.


Each abbreviation is stored in its own global or universal variable. The name consists of the prefix _fish_abbr_ followed by the WORD after being transformed by string escape style=var. The WORD cannot contain a space but all other characters are legal.

Defining an abbreviation with global scope is slightly faster than universal scope (which is the default). But in general you'll only want to use the global scope when defining abbreviations in a startup script like ~/.config/fish/ like this:

if status --is-interactive
    abbr --add --global first 'echo my first abbreviation'
    abbr --add --global second 'echo my second abbreviation'
    abbr --add --global gco git checkout
    # etcetera

You can create abbreviations interactively and they will be visible to other fish sessions if you use the -U or --universal flag or don't explicitly specify the scope and the abbreviation isn't already defined with global scope. If you want it to be visible only to the current shell use the -g or --global flag.