WHOIS(1) BSD Reference Manual WHOIS(1)
whois - Internet user name directory service
whois [-h hostname] name ...
Whois looks up records in the Network Information Center (NIC) database.
The options are as follows:
-h Use the specified host instead of the default NIC
The operands specified to whois are concatenated together (separated by
white-space) and presented to the whois server.
The default action, unless directed otherwise with a special name, is to
do a very broad search, looking for matches to name in all types of
records and most fields (name, nicknames, hostname, net address, etc.) in
the database. For more information as to what name operands have special
meaning, and how to guide the search, use the special name ``help''.
RFC 812: Nicname/Whois
The whois command appeared in 4.3BSD.
4.3 Berkeley Distribution June 20, 1994 1