I have psql installed in my Ubuntu system. There is a database named tmpdb in it. I want to delete it but get an error message:

must be owner of database tmpdb".

I open psql with

  $psql postgres
  psql (9.5.6)
  Type "help" for help.

  postgres=>DROP DATABASE tmpdb;
  ERROR:  must be owner of database tmpdb

How can I see owner, change it, so I can delete the database?

2 Answers 2


You don't have to do any of that if you want to delete it the simple way is to use dropdb as a database super-user. Assuming that postgres is still a database super-user.

sudo -u postgres dropdb tmpdb;

See man dropdb for more information.


To see the owner of a database, the easiest way is to use the \l command (or \l+ for some extra nerdy details) in psql. The owner can then be changed with

ALTER DATABASE tmpdb OWNER TO yournewowner;

In case you did not remember this exact syntax, you could have gotten some help with:


After this, you could delete your database with the DROP DATABASE command or with the dropdb executable.

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