|-L||The number of characters in the longest input line is written to the standard output. When more than one file argument is specified, the longest input line of all files is reported as the value of the final "total".|
|-c||The number of bytes in each input file is written to the standard output. This will cancel out any prior usage of the -m option.|
|-l||The number of lines in each input file is written to the standard output.|
|-m||The number of characters in each input file is written to the standard output. If the current locale does not support multibyte characters, this is equivalent to the -c option. This will cancel out any prior usage of the -c option.|
|-w||The number of words in each input file is written to the standard output.|
When an option is specified, wc only reports the information requested by that option. The order of output always takes the form of line, word, byte, and file name. The default action is equivalent to specifying the -c -, -l and -w options.
If no files are specified, the standard input is used and no file name is displayed. The prompt will accept input until receiving EOF, or [^D] in most environments.
The LANG, LC_ALL and LC_CTYPE environment variables affect the execution of wc as described in environ(7).
Count the number of characters, words and lines in each of the files report1 and report2 as well as the totals for both:
wc -mlw report1 report2
Find the longest line in a list of files:
wc -L file1 file2 file3 | fgrep total
Historically, the wc utility was documented to define a word as a " maximal string of characters delimited by <space>, <tab> or <newline> characters ". The implementation, however, did not handle non-printing characters correctly so that " ^D^E " counted as 6 spaces, while "foo^D^Ebar" counted as 8 characters. BSD 4 systems after BSD 4.3 modified the implementation to be consistent with the documentation. This implementation defines a "word" in terms of the iswspace(3) function, as required by -p1003.2.
The -L option is a non-standard
.Fx extension, compatible with the -L option of the GNU wc utility.
The wc utility conforms to -p1003.1-2001.
A wc command appeared in AT&T v1 .