locate can compare file names, or parts of file
names, to shell patterns. A shell pattern is a string that may
contain the following special characters, which are known as
wildcards or metacharacters.
You must quote patterns that contain metacharacters to prevent the shell from expanding them itself. Double and single quotes both work; so does escaping with a backslash.
find tests that do shell pattern matching (‘-name’,
‘-wholename’, etc.), wildcards in the pattern will match a
‘.’ at the beginning of a file name. This is also the case for
locate. Thus, ‘find -name '*macs'’ will match a file
named .emacs, as will ‘locate '*macs'’.
Slash characters have no special significance in the shell pattern
locate do, unlike in the shell,
in which wildcards do not match them. Therefore, a pattern
‘foo*bar’ can match a file name ‘foo3/bar’, and a pattern
‘./sr*sc’ can match a file name ‘./src/misc’.
If you want to locate some files with the ‘locate’ command but don't need to see the full list you can use the ‘--limit’ option to see just a small number of results, or the ‘--count’ option to display only the total number of matches.