escape key


variants or less commonly Escape key
: a key on a computer keyboard that when pressed transmits various commands to the computer (such as to stop an active process or close a window)

Note: The escape key originally transmitted a special type of character (the escape character) that marked subsequent data as being different in some way. For example, it might separate a command being sent to a printer from the actual data to be printed. More recent changes in technology have made this character less necessary, and the escape key has been adapted for other uses.

Examples of escape key in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Pyramid escape key also has cutouts designed to let the keyboard’s RGB lighting shine through, with holes on both its upper and lower sides to work with north- and south-facing switch orientations. Jon Porter, The Verge, 11 Nov. 2023 To cancel taking the screengrab, press the escape key. Dana Rose Falcone,, 13 Mar. 2021 Apple said today that the physical escape key, which is no longer built into the touch bar, is a nod to professional coders, the largest segment of Pro users according to the brand. Will Egensteiner, Popular Mechanics, 13 Nov. 2019 While on the subject, users will also appreciate the return of a physical escape key on the MacBook Pro that had disappeared on models with a virtual Touch Bar above the physical keys. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 13 Nov. 2019 The Logitech Craft is a sturdy and comfortable wireless keyboard for Mac and Windows that has a wheel in the upper-left corner, just above the escape key. Wired Staff, WIRED, 1 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'escape key.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1982, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of escape key was in 1982

Dictionary Entries Near escape key

Cite this Entry

“Escape key.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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