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git describe [--all] [--tags] [--contains] [--abbrev=<n>] <committish>...
git describe [--all] [--tags] [--contains] [--abbrev=<n>] --dirty[=<mark>]
The command finds the most recent tag that is reachable from a commit.
If the tag points to the commit, then only the tag is shown. Otherwise,
it suffixes the tag name with the number of additional commits on top
of the tagged object and the abbreviated object name of the most recent
By default (without --all or --tags) git describe only shows annotated
tags. For more information about creating annotated tags see the -a and
-s options to git-tag(1).
Committish object names to describe.
Describe the working tree. It means describe HEAD and appends
<mark> (-dirty by default) if the working tree is dirty.
Instead of using only the annotated tags, use any ref found in
.git/refs/. This option enables matching any known branch, remote
branch, or lightweight tag.
Instead of using only the annotated tags, use any tag found in
.git/refs/tags. This option enables matching a lightweight
Instead of finding the tag that predates the commit, find the tag
that comes after the commit, and thus contains it. Automatically
Instead of using the default 7 hexadecimal digits as the
abbreviated object name, use <n> digits, or as many digits as
needed to form a unique object name. An <n> of 0 will suppress long
format, only showing the closest tag.
Instead of considering only the 10 most recent tags as candidates
to describe the input committish consider up to <n> candidates.
Increasing <n> above 10 will take slightly longer but may produce a
more accurate result. An <n> of 0 will cause only exact matches to
tagged version. Instead of just emitting the tag name, it will
describe such a commit as v1.2-0-gdeadbee (0th commit since tag
v1.2 that points at object deadbee....).
Only consider tags matching the given pattern (can be used to avoid
leaking private tags made from the repository).
Show uniquely abbreviated commit object as fallback.
With something like git.git current tree, I get:
[torvalds@g5 git]$ git describe parent
i.e. the current head of my "parent" branch is based on v1.0.4, but
since it has a few commits on top of that, describe has added the
number of additional commits ("14") and an abbreviated object name for
the commit itself ("2414721") at the end.
The number of additional commits is the number of commits which would
be displayed by "git log v1.0.4..parent". The hash suffix is "-g" +
7-char abbreviation for the tip commit of parent (which was
2414721b194453f058079d897d13c4e377f92dc6). The "g" prefix stands for
"git" and is used to allow describing the version of a software
depending on the SCM the software is managed with. This is useful in an
environment where people may use different SCMs.
Doing a git describe on a tag-name will just show the tag name:
[torvalds@g5 git]$ git describe v1.0.4
With --all, the command can use branch heads as references, so the
output shows the reference path as well:
[torvalds@g5 git]$ git describe --all --abbrev=4 v1.0.5^2
[torvalds@g5 git]$ git describe --all --abbrev=4 HEAD^
With --abbrev set to 0, the command can be used to find the closest
tagname without any suffix:
[torvalds@g5 git]$ git describe --abbrev=0 v1.0.5^2
Note that the suffix you get if you type these commands today may be
longer than what Linus saw above when he ran these commands, as your
input committish's SHA1.
If multiple tags were found during the walk then the tag which has the
fewest commits different from the input committish will be selected and
output. Here fewest commits different is defined as the number of
commits which would be shown by git log tag..input will be the smallest
number of commits possible.
Written by Linus Torvalds <email@example.com>, but somewhat
butchered by Junio C Hamano <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Later significantly
updated by Shawn Pearce <email@example.com>.
Documentation by David Greaves, Junio C Hamano and the git-list
Part of the git(1) suite
Git 1.7.1 03/04/2013 GIT-DESCRIBE(1)