What Does Backtick Mean?

A backtick in computer science represents a “shell” form of command structure that some call a “double operator.” Essentially, the use of backticks allows for evaluating a string as part of a general command. It may be used in computing languages like Perl or other types of code.


Techopedia Explains Backtick

With the type of shell command mentioned above, everything inside a set of backticks is evaluated before the main command runs, and its output is used by that command as a parameter. For example, running an identifying command inside of backticks allows the main parameter to have that identification when it executes. Examples of this type of command can be found in the Stackexchange blog and elsewhere.

Some experts call the situation invoked by backticks “command substitution” which is defined as allowing the output of a command to replace a main command.

Backticks are also sometimes called “graves” because of their linguistic use in many world languages. The grave accent is used in such diverse languages as French, Creole, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh and some Native American languages.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…