alt

/awlt/ 1. n. The alt shift key on an IBM PC or clone. 2. n. The `clover' or `Command' key on a Macintosh; use of this term usually reveals that the speaker hacked PCs before coming to the Mac (see also feature key). Some Mac hackers, confusingly, reserve `alt' for the Option key. 3. n.obs. [PDP-10; often capitalized to ALT] Alternate name for the ASCII ESC character (ASCII 0011011), after the keycap labeling on some older terminals. Also `altmode' (/awlt'mohd/). This character was almost never pronounced `escape' on an ITS system, in TECO, or under TOPS-10 --- always alt, as in "Type alt alt to end a TECO command" or "alt-U onto the system" (for "log onto the [ITS] system"). This was probably because alt is more convenient to say than `escape', especially when followed by another alt or a character (or another alt *and* a character, for that matter).