This place has some seriously skilled linux gurus...
I had a problem when I tried to install qmail in which I couldn't find out why ~qmail at the command prompt was pointing to the wrong directory. After a few questions from a linux guru named 'amrit', he figured out it was actually due to me creating a qmail user in the /etc/passwd which defined the user's home as the wrong directory in question
So it wasn't an actual alias or symbolic link.
Thanks Amrit , I hope someone is as kind as you were to me ;)
Additional explanation below:
I could be wrong but I think it constitutes to the bash's tilde expansion however I was on the wrong track thinking it was either an alias or a symbolic link. Essentially I installed qmail twice. During the first install, I created some users for qmail to work with home directories so there was an alias username pointing to /dirA . When I did the install the second time, I changed the directory location for the install and during the creating users process, the users already exists so useradd command did not re-create since they already exists, thus the old directory stayed. so when I typed ~alias it was pointing the old directory of the user named alias. Hope that makes sense lol