escape key

variants: or less commonly Escape key

Definition of 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 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.

Examples of escape key in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To cancel taking the screengrab, press the escape key. Dana Rose Falcone,, "How to take a screenshot on a Mac," 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, "Our First Impressions of the New MacBook Pro," 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, "MacBook Pro first look: Apple fixes the keyboard on its pricey new 16-inch portable," 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, "Our Favorite Stuff From Europe’s Biggest Gadget Show," 1 Sep. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of escape key

1982, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for escape key

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The first known use of escape key was in 1982

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Escape key.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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