Important Git terms

When you install Git, it adds a manual entry for gitglossary. You can view this glossary by running man gitglossary. Below we've included the git terms you'll encounter most often along with their definitions from gitglossary.

branch

A "branch" is an active line of development. The most recent commit on a branch is referred to as the tip of that branch. The tip of the branch is referenced by a branch head, which moves forward as additional development is done on the branch. A single Git repository can track an arbitrary number of branches, but your working tree is associated with just one of them (the "current" or "checked out" branch), and HEAD points to that branch.

cache

Obsolete for: index

checkout

The action of updating all or part of the working tree with a tree object or blob from the object database, and updating the index and HEAD if the whole working tree has been pointed at a new branch.

commit

As a noun: A single point in the Git history; the entire history of a project is represented as a set of interrelated commits. The word "commit" is often used by Git in the same places other revision control systems use the words "revision" or "version". Also used as a short hand for commit object.

As a verb: The action of storing a new snapshot of the project's state in the Git history, by creating a new commit representing the current state of the index and advancing HEAD to point at the new

fast-forward

A fast-forward is a special type of merge where you have a revision and you are "merging" another branch's changes that happen to be a descendant of what you have. In such these cases, you do not make a new mergecommit but instead just update to their revision. This will happen frequently on a remote-tracking branch of a remote repository.

fetch

Fetching a branch means to get the branch's head ref from a remote repository, to find out which objects are missing from the local object database, and to get them, too. See also git-fetch(1).

hash

In Git's context, synonym for object name.

index

A collection of files with stat information, whose contents are stored as objects. The index is a stored version of your working tree. Truth be told, it can also contain a second, and even a third version of a working tree, which are used when merging.

pull

Pulling a branch means to fetch it and merge it. See also git- pull(1).

push

Pushing a branch means to get the branch's head ref from a remote repository, find out if it is a direct ancestor to the branch's local head ref, and in that case, putting all objects, which are reachable from the local head ref, and which are missing from the remote repository, into the remote object database, and updating the remote head ref. If the remote head is not an ancestor to the local head, the push fails.

rebase

To reapply a series of changes from a branch to a different base, and reset the head of that branch to the result.