Tersefied by Dennis German.

Original is located at dev.MySQL.Com

8.15. mysqlimport A Data Import Program
command-line interface to the  LOAD DATA INFILE 

shell> mysqlimport [options] db_name textfile1 [textfile2 ...]

Strips any extension from textfile for the name of the table.

 -u user_name, --user=user_name,
 -h host_name, --host=host_name, default localhost.

 -D --delete rows from the table before import (warning large existing tables should be TRUNCATED )

 --columns=column_list, -c column_list  comma-separated, ordered, list of column names . 


 --ignore-lines=N Ignore the first N lines of the data file.

 -L --local Read input files locally from the client host.   cautions:
 MySQL Enterprise

-C  --compress Compress information between the client and the server 

-f --force Ignore errors. 

 --character-sets-dir=path Character Set

 --default-character-set=charset_name  Character Set Used for Data and Sorting

-i, -r, --ignore,  --replace rows that duplicate existing rows on unique key values are ignored(skipped) or replaced. Default action is  to cause an error

 --debug[=debug_options], -# [debug_options] ' d:t:o,file_name'.  

 -s --silent display errors only.  
 -v --verbose 
 -V --version 
 --help, -?

 > mysqlimport --help
mysqlimport  Ver 3.5 Distrib 4.1.21, for pc-linux-gnu (i686)
Copyright (C) 2000 MySQL AB & MySQL Finland AB & TCX DataKonsult AB
This software comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. This is free software,
and you are welcome to modify and redistribute it under the GPL license

Loads tables from text files in various formats.  The base name of the
text file must be the name of the table that should be used.
If one uses sockets to connect to the MySQL server, the server will open and
read the text file directly. In other cases the client will open the text
file. The SQL command 'LOAD DATA INFILE' is used to import the rows.

Usage: mysqlimport [OPTIONS] database textfile...
Default options are read from the following files in the given order:
/etc/my.cnf /var/lib/mysql/my.cnf ~/.my.cnf 
The following groups are read: mysqlimport client
The following options may be given as the first argument:
 --print-defaults        Print the program argument list and exit
 --no-defaults           Don't read default options from any options file
 --defaults-file=#       Only read default options from the given file #
 --defaults-extra-file=# Read this file after the global files are read
  --character-sets-dir=name Directory where character sets are.
  --default-character-set=name Set the default character set.
  -c, --columns=name  Use only these columns to import the data to. Give the
                      column names in a comma separated list. This is same as
                      giving columns to LOAD DATA INFILE.
  -C, --compress      Use compression in server/client protocol.
  -#, --debug[=name]  Output debug log. Often this is 'd:t:o,filename'.
  -d, --delete        First delete all rows from table.
  --fields-terminated-by=name Fields in the textfile are terminated by ...
  --fields-enclosed-by=name Fields in the importfile are enclosed by ...
  --fields-optionally-enclosed-by=name Fields in the i.file are opt. enclosed by ...
  --fields-escaped-by=name Fields in the i.file are escaped by ...
  -f, --force         Continue even if we get an sql-error.
  -?, --help          Displays this help and exits.
  -h, --host=name     Connect to host.
  -i, --ignore        If duplicate unique key was found, keep old row.
  --ignore-lines=#    Ignore first n lines of data infile.
  --lines-terminated-by=name Lines in the i.file are terminated by ...
  -L, --local         Read all files through the client.
  -l, --lock-tables   Lock all tables for write.
  --low-priority      Use LOW_PRIORITY when updating the table.
  -p, --password[=name] Password to use when connecting to server.
                  If password is not given it's asked from the tty.
  -P, --port=#        Port number to use for connection.
  --protocol=name     The protocol of connection (tcp,socket,pipe,memory).
  -r, --replace       If duplicate unique key was found, replace old row.
  -s, --silent        Be more silent.
  -S, --socket=name   Socket file to use for connection.
  -u, --user=name     User for login if not current user.
  -v, --verbose       Print info about the various stages.
  -V, --version       Output version information and exit.

variables in bold are considered important by this author
Variables (--variable-name=value)
and boolean options {FALSE|TRUE}  Value (after reading options)
--------------------------------- -----------------------------
character-sets-dir                (No default value)
default-character-set             latin1
columns                           (No default value)
compress                          FALSE
delete                            FALSE
fields-terminated-by              (No default value)
fields-enclosed-by                (No default value)
fields-optionally-enclosed-by     (No default value)
fields-escaped-by                 (No default value)
force                             FALSE
host                              (No default value)
ignore                            FALSE
ignore-lines                      0
lines-terminated-by               (No default value)
local                             FALSE
lock-tables                       FALSE
low-priority                      FALSE
port                              3306
replace                           FALSE
silent                            FALSE
socket                            (No default value)
user                              (No default value)
verbose                           FALSE
--lines-terminated-by=... Windows files that have lines terminated with carriage return/linefeed pairs, use --lines-terminated-by="\r\n". (You might have to double the backslashes, depending on the escaping conventions of your command interpreter.) See Section 13.2.5, ¿LOAD DATA INFILE Syntax¿. --lock-tables, -l Lock all?? tables for writing before import. --low-priority affects storage engines that use only table-level locking (MyISAM, MEMORY, MERGE). --port=port_num, -P port_num The TCP/IP port number to use for the connection. --protocol={TCP|SOCKET|PIPE|MEMORY} --socket=path, -S path For connections to localhost, the Unix socket file to use, or, on Windows, the name of the named pipe to use. --ssl* Options that begin with --ssl specify whether to connect to the server via SSL --password[=password], -p[password] -p is immediately followed by the password. if omitted you are prompted for the password.( avoid this option)
a sample shell> mysql -e ' CREATE TABLE imptest( theirage INT, theirname VARCHAR(30) ) ' testDB shell> cat imptest.txt 100 Maxwell Sydow 101 Countess Dracula shell># see the first 3 lines with control characters shell>head -3 imptest.txt od -c 0000000 1 0 0 \t M a x S y d o w \n 1 0 0000020 1 \t C o u n t D r a c u l a \n 0000040 shell> mysqlimport --local test imptest.txt test.imptest: Records: 2 Deleted: 0 Skipped: 0 Warnings: 0 shell> mysql -e 'SELECT * FROM imptest' testDB +------------+---------------+ | theirage | theirname | +------------+---------------+ | 100 | Max Sydow | | 101 | Count Dracula | +------------+---------------+