I've got a file called -T on my linux box, and, I thought I could do

 rm "-T"


 rm "\-T"


 rm \-T


 rm *T

Alas, I've run out of simple tricks (or I'm misuing them).

I keep getting the error message:

rm: invalid option -- T

I'm pretty sure I could delete this file with some FTP client, but that feels like cheating. Can someone point me in the right direction?

  • 1
    The reason that all your variations on rm didn't work is because bash was expanding them to 'rm -T'. So you would consistently get rm called with '-T'.
    – Kevin M
    Jul 8, 2009 at 18:26

6 Answers 6


A lot of *nix commands have a '--' option, which means "this is where the options end, anything from here onwards that looks like an option, isn't".

rm -- -filename

Not 100% sure if rm supports that, I'm a bit rusty.

  • Nice touch, I was curious whether this would work on other commands.
    – cgp
    Jul 8, 2009 at 17:35

Use the "--" option to tell rm that there are no more options coming.

 rm -- -T

You can also put a "./" in front of the file like this:

 rm ./-T

As a third option, you can often use a graphic file viewer and drag it into the trash.

  • This worked for me.
    – cgp
    Jul 8, 2009 at 17:31

Try prefixing your file with ./ I think this works.

  • 1
    Just for giggles I tried this and it worked as well.
    – cgp
    Jul 8, 2009 at 17:32

I just had to try:

gw:~/kana # rm -T
rm: invalid option -- 'T'
Try `rm ./-T' to remove the file `-T'.
Try `rm --help' for more information.
gw:~/kana # rm ./-T
  • Interesting, I wonder which distro did that for you. Nice touch.
    – cgp
    Jul 8, 2009 at 17:33
  • opensuse 11.0, coreutils-6.11-9.1 Actually, even rm --help said how to do it. :) Jul 8, 2009 at 17:36
  • Ubuntu 9.04, coreutils-6.10 gave the same message. Jul 9, 2009 at 1:42

Put the current directory in front of the file name, which will prevent the program from thinking you're passing it a parameter.

$ rm ./-T



Well, back in the day you could use ls -il or stat to print out the inode of the file then use find with an -inode flag and use -exec to call rm on that file!

I guess the post-early 90's are still calling me...... :)

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