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    The hg update alias to hg checkout comes from analogy with svn and I think cvs. A bare hg update corresponds to the svn command (after a pull, which doesn’t exist in svn) and an hg update $rev also matches the idea of updating to some revision other than the latest one.

    In fact, most of the hg terminology matches svn terminology whenever possible, which at the time was the status quo. Git ignored a lot of existing VCS conventions, one of the reasons why its UI feels so complicated to many people. Now that git is the status quo, hg’s once-standard conventions feel like the odd ones out.

    By the way, you can abbreviate all commands to their shortest unique prefix. I often type stuff like hg up -r $rev or hg di. There are also a few built-in aliases you’ve already found like co for checkout/update and ci for commit (“check in”, from cvs and svn).