Zsh commands: exec vs source

source and exec are both built-ins.

source evaluates or runs the content of a file. For example, if you source ~/.zshrc you apply the content of the file to the currently running Zsh process. You can source any valid Zsh code.

exec replaces the current shell process with another process. Your terminal (tty) session is running a shell. Replace it with another shell without launching another tty. It could be the same shell with different settings or flags.

The tty (teletypewriter) command prints the name of the terminal you're using.