I'm on a new system (Amazon Linux 2015.9), and my emacs config seems to not like the stock install (Emacs 24.3.1) or vice-versa.

When I do C-x C-c it runs save-buffers-kill-terminal.

But this fails, and writes Wrong type argument: listp, "make -k " to the minibuffer.

I have determined that whatever value I set for compile-command will appear in the message. For example, I can make emacs fail to exit with the message Wrong type argument: listp, "foobar " or Wrong type argument: listp, "".

But I can't figure out what it causing a compile to run on exit or how to shut it off.

Is there a hook that lives somewhere? Does anyone have any ideas for tracking this down?

At the moment I can only quit by backgrounding the process and doing kill %1.

  • You could try checking the value of kill-emacs-hook (C-h v kill-emacs-hook), and see if any of the functions in that list look like they could be doing this.
    – elethan
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 20:31
  • 1
    If the hint of elethan does not help you could activate the option Enter Debugger on Error in the Options menu. It produces a stacktrace in the error case. Maybe, you can fix your problem with the help of this stacktrace. If you cannot get rid of the problem paste the stacktrace here.
    – Tobias
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


With the suggestions of @elethan and @Tobias I was able to generate this stack-trace:

Debugger entered--Lisp error: (wrong-type-argument listp "make -k ")
  call-interactively(save-buffers-kill-terminal nil nil)

And track it down to savehist, which I disabled for now.

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