meta character

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meta character

[′med·ə ‚kar·ik·tər]
(computer science)
A character in a computer programming language system that has some controlling role with respect to other characters with which it may be associated.
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References in periodicals archive ?
(3) I borrow the notion of a metacharacter from Smith 1989.
At least on Unix/Linux/BSD/Mac OS X, you need to put single quotes around the entire command to protect all "metacharacters" in it.