git – How to find commit when line was deleted/removed?


I have a deleted line in a file in my Git repository. I knew some of the missing text, and the file that it was in, so I used git log -S'missingtext' /path/to/file.

However, the only thing that came back was the commit in which I added the line containing the missing text. The text wasn’t present in HEAD, and the commit that added it was present in my branch, so I knew that one of the commits in my branch’s history must have removed it, but it wasn’t showing up.

After some manual searching, it turned out that the line was removed accidentally while resolving a conflict for a merge. So I’m wondering:

  1. Is this the reason why pickaxe couldn’t find the commit that deleted the line?
  2. How could I have found where “missingtext” was deleted without digging through the history manually?

Any insight on #1 would be great (I assumed that git log -S would give me my answer), but my real question is #2 since I’d like to be able to avoid this in the future.


git log -c -S'missingtext' /path/to/file

git log doesn’t show a diff for merge commits by default. Try the -c or --cc flags.

More discussion/explanation:
From the git-log docs:

-c With this option, diff output for a merge commit shows the differences from each of the parents to the merge result
simultaneously instead of showing pairwise diff between a parent and
the result one at a time. Furthermore, it lists only files which were
modified from all parents.

–cc This flag implies the -c option and further compresses the patch output by omitting uninteresting hunks whose contents in the
parents have only two variants and the merge result picks one of them
without modification.

Leave a Reply