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I am looking for a script-based solution executed in the command line.

Open a new window of terminal at specified ~/desktop

open -na terminal ~/desktop

Open a terminal tab

osascript -e 'tell application "Terminal" to activate' -e 'tell application "System Events" to tell process "Terminal" to keystroke "t" using command down'

How to open a terminal tab at a particular dir.

  • 1. Opening a new tab in Terminal retains the current directory by default! 2. With this knowledge the question answers the question: do some more keystrokes "cd ...." and finally the Enter key ;-) – klanomath Nov 24 '17 at 23:42
  • Your first command for opening a new window actually opens an entirely new Terminal application instance, which will recreate any windows existing in the current instance! – grg Jan 25 '18 at 9:53
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In MacOS 10.13.2 (but possibly/probably in earlier versions too):

    directory=~/Downloads; osascript -e "tell app \"terminal\" to do script \"cd $directory\"" 
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