The top bit of an 8-bit character, which is on in character values 128--255.
Also called high bit
, alt bit
, or hobbit
Some terminals and consoles (see space-cadet keyboard
) have a META shift key.
Others (including, *mirabile dictu*, keyboards on IBM PC-class machines) have an ALT key.
See also bucky bits
Historical note: although in modern usage shaped by a universe of 8-bit bytes the meta bit is invariably hex
0200), things were different on earlier machines with 36 bit words and 9-bit bytes.
The MIT and Stanford keyboards (see space-cadet keyboard
) generated hex 100 (octal 400) from their meta keys.