man ntpq (Gentoo brief version)

Using “man ntpq” or “man 1 ntpq”, you get the ‘brief’ version as shown below of the ntpq man page from a Gentoo system. Contrast with the more widespread and more informative ‘long’ version example or the Gentoo man 8 ntpq example that include the tally codes and output descriptions…

Much further explanation is given on “ntpq -p” output.

NTPQ(1)                       Programmer’s Manual                      NTPQ(1)

ntpq – standard NTP query program

ntpq [-flag [value]]… [–opt-name [[=| ]value]]…
[ host …]

This  manual page briefly documents the ntpq command.  The [= prog-name
=] utility program is used to query NTP  servers  which  implement  the
standard  NTP  mode  6 control message formats defined in Appendix B of
the NTPv3 specification RFC1305, requesting information  about  current
state  and/or  changes  in  that  state.   The same formats are used in
NTPv4, although some of the variables have changed and new ones  added.
The  description  on this page is for the NTPv4 variables.  The program
may be run either in interactive mode or controlled using command  line
arguments.   Requests  to  read  and  write  arbitrary variables can be
assembled, with raw and pretty-printed output options being  available.
The  [=  prog-name =] utility can also obtain and print a list of peers
in a common format by sending multiple queries to the server.

If one or more request options is included on the command line when  [=
prog-name  =] is executed, each of the requests will be sent to the NTP
servers running on each of the hosts given as command  line  arguments,
or  on localhost by default.  If no request options are given, [= prog-
name =] will attempt to read commands from the standard input and  exe‐
cute  these  on  the  NTP server running on the first host given on the
command line, again defaulting to localhost when no other host is spec‐
ified.   The  [=  prog-name  =] utility will prompt for commands if the
standard input is a terminal device.

The [= prog-name =] utility uses NTP mode 6 packets to communicate with
the NTP server, and hence can be used to query any compatible server on
the network which permits it.  Note that since NTP is  a  UDP  protocol
this  communication  will be somewhat unreliable, especially over large
distances in terms of network topology.  The [=  prog-name  =]  utility
makes one attempt to retransmit requests, and will time requests out if
the remote host is not heard from within a suitable timeout time.

Specifying a command line option other than or will cause the specified
query  (queries) to be sent to the indicated host(s) immediately.  Oth‐
erwise, [= prog-name =] will attempt to read  interactive  format  com‐
mands  from the standard input.  Interactive format commands consist of
a keyword followed by zero to four arguments.  Only  enough  characters
of the full keyword to uniquely identify the command need be typed.

A  number  of  interactive format commands are executed entirely within
the [= prog-name =] utility itself and do not  result  in  NTP  mode  6
requests being sent to a server.  These are described following.

? [command_keyword]

A by itself will print a list of all the command keywords known to this
incarnation of [= prog-name =] .  A followed by a command keyword  will
print  function  and usage information about the command.  This command
is probably a better source of information about [= prog-name  =]  than
this manual page.


rmvars variable_name …

clearvars The data carried by NTP mode 6 messages consists of a list of
items of the form where the is ignored, and can be omitted, in requests
to the server to read variables.  The [= prog-name =] utility maintains
an internal list in which data to be included in control  messages  can
be  assembled,  and  sent  using the and commands described below.  The
command allows variables and their optional values to be added  to  the
list.   If  more  than  one variable is to be added, the list should be
comma-separated and not contain white space.  The command can  be  used
to remove individual variables from the list, while the command removes
all variables from the list.

authenticate [ yes | no ] Normally [= prog-name =] does  not  authenti‐
cate  requests  unless  they are write requests.  The command causes [=
prog-name =]  to  send  authentication  with  all  requests  it  makes.
Authenticated  requests causes some servers to handle requests slightly
differently, and can occasionally melt the CPU in fuzzballs if you turn
authentication  on before doing a display.  The command causes [= prog-
name =] to display whether or not [= prog-name =] is currently authein‐
ticating requests.

cooked  Causes output from query commands to be “cooked”, so that vari‐
ables which are recognized by [= prog-name =] will  have  their  values
reformatted  for  human  consumption.   Variables which [= prog-name =]
thinks should have a decodable value  but  didn’t  are  marked  with  a
trailing  ] With no argument, displays the current debug level.  Other‐
wise, the debug level is changed to the indicated level.

delay milliseconds Specify a time interval to be  added  to  timestamps
included  in  requests  which  require authentication.  This is used to
enable (unreliable) server  reconfiguration  over  long  delay  network
paths  or  between  machines whose clocks are unsynchronized.  Actually
the server does not now require timestamps in  authenticated  requests,
so this command may be obsolete.

host hostname Set the host to which future queries will be sent.  Host‐
name may be either a host name or a numeric address.

hostnames Cm yes | Cm no If is specified, host  names  are  printed  in
information  displays.   If is specified, numeric addresses are printed
instead.  The default is unless modified using the command line switch.

keyid keyid This command allows the specification of a key number to be
used to authenticate configuration requests.  This must correspond to a
key number the server has been configured to use for this purpose.

ntpversion [ ] Sets the NTP version number which [= prog-name =] claims
in  packets.   Defaults  to  3,  Note that mode 6 control messages (and
modes, for that matter) didn’t exist in NTP version 1.  There appear to
be  no servers left which demand version 1.  With no argument, displays
the current NTP version that  will  be  used  when  communicating  with

quit Exit [= prog-name =] .

passwd  This  command prompts you to type in a password (which will not
be echoed) which will be used to authenticate  configuration  requests.
The  password  must correspond to the key configured for use by the NTP
server for this purpose if such requests are to be successful.

raw Causes all output from query commands is printed as  received  from
the  remote server.  The only formating/interpretation done on the data
is to transform nonascii data into a printable (but barely  understand‐
able) form.

timeout  Ar  milliseconds  Specify  a  timeout  period for responses to
server queries.  The default is about  5000  milliseconds.   Note  that
since  [=  prog-name  =]  retries  each query once after a timeout, the
total waiting time for a timeout will be twice the timeout value set.

-4, –ipv4
Force IPv4 DNS name resolution.  This option must not appear  in
combination with any of the following options: ipv6.

Force DNS resolution of following host names on the command line
to the IPv4 namespace.

-6, –ipv6
Force IPv6 DNS name resolution.  This option must not appear  in
combination with any of the following options: ipv4.

Force DNS resolution of following host names on the command line
to the IPv6 namespace.

-c cmd, –command=cmd
run a command and exit.  This option  may  appear  an  unlimited
number of times.

The  following  argument is interpreted as an interactive format
command and is added to the list of commands to be  executed  on
the specified host(s).

-d, –debug-level
Increase  output debug message level.  This option may appear an
unlimited number of times.

Increase the debugging message output level.

-D string, –set-debug-level=string
Set the output debug message level.  This option may  appear  an
unlimited number of times.

Set the output debugging level.  Can be supplied multiple times,
but each overrides the previous value(s).

-p, –peers
Print a list of the peers.  This option must not appear in  com‐
bination with any of the following options: interactive.

Print  a list of the peers known to the server as well as a sum‐
mary of their state. This is equivalent to the ‘peers’  interac‐
tive command.

-i, –interactive
Force ntpq to operate in interactive mode.  This option must not
appear in combination with any of the  following  options:  com‐
mand, peers.

Force  ntpq  to  operate  in  interactive mode.  Prompts will be
written to the standard output and commands read from the  stan‐
dard input.

-n, –numeric
numeric host addresses.

Output  all  host addresses in dotted-quad numeric format rather
than converting to the canonical host names.

Always output status line with readvar.

By default, ntpq now suppresses the associd=… line  that  pre‐
cedes  the  output of “readvar” (alias “rv”) when a single vari‐
able is requested, such as ntpq -c “rv 0 offset”.   This  option
causes  ntpq  to include both lines of output for a single-vari‐
able readvar.  Using an  environment  variable  to  preset  this
option  in  a  script  will  enable both older and newer ntpq to
behave identically in this regard.

-?, –help
Display extended usage information and exit.

-!, –more-help
Extended usage information passed thru pager.

-> [rcfile], –save-opts[=rcfile]
Save the option state to rcfile.  The default is the  last  con‐
figuration file listed in the OPTION PRESETS section, below.

-< rcfile, –load-opts=rcfile, –no-load-opts
Load  options  from  rcfile.  The no-load-opts form will disable
the loading of earlier RC/INI files.  –no-load-opts is  handled
early, out of order.

– [{v|c|n}], –version[={v|c|n}]
Output  version of program and exit.  The default mode is `v’, a
simple version.  The `c’ mode will print  copyright  information
and `n’ will print the full copyright notice.

Any option that is not marked as not presettable may be preset by load‐
ing values from configuration (“RC” or “.INI”) file(s) and values  from
environment variables named:
NTPQ_<option-name> or NTPQ
The  environmental  presets  take precedence (are processed later than)
the configuration files.  The homerc files are “$HOME”,  and  “.”.   If
any  of  these  are  directories,  then the file .ntprc is searched for
within those directories.

David L. Mills and/or others
Please send bug reports to:,

see html/copyright.html

This manual page was AutoGen-erated from the ntpq option definitions.

( 4.2.6p3)                        2011-01-03                           NTPQ(1)

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