1. A character that changes the meaning of a character or characters immediately following. It is like a temporary shift character. The ASCII characters ESC and DLE are used in this way. Graphic characters (see character set) are also used as escape characters in particular contexts.
2. A character that causes the character or characters immediately following to be read by an application but not interpreted by the application. This occurs, for example, with text-formatting applications, where certain characters that usually indicate formatting directives may, in some cases, constitute part of the formatted output.
"escape character." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/escape-character
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