escape key

noun
variants: or less commonly Escape key

Definition of escape key

computers
: 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 orginally 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.

Recent Examples of escape key from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escape key.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of escape key

1982

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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