from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A key on a typewriter that, when depressed, allows uppercase letters and certain symbols to be typed.
  • n. A key on a computer keyboard that, when depressed, changes letters from lowercase to uppercase, changes the effect of a concurrently depressed function key in an application, or changes the effect of pushing a button on a pointing device.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The key on a typewriter used to select uppercase letters and certain special characters by physically moving the mechanism
  • n. A key on a personal computer or terminal keyboard used to effect the same function, or to change the function of the function keys

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the key on the typewriter keyboard that shifts from lower-case letters to upper-case letters


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The ESC key was still used as a pseudo shift key (one press) and to enter editing mode (two presses, displayed as an inverse "@" instead of the "+" in previous versions), but the keyboard SHIFT key could be used to enter uppercase characters if the "shift key mod" was performed (recall that this connected the shift key to the input for button 3 on the game paddles).

    The Apple II History, by Steven Weyhrich : Software


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