stty -a


speed 38400 baud; rows 39; columns 143; line = 0;
intr = ^C; quit = ^\; erase = ^?; kill = ^U; eof = ^D; eol = M-^?; eol2 = M-^?; swtch = M-^?; start = ^Q; stop = ^S; susp = ^Z; rprnt = ^R;
werase = ^W; lnext = ^V; flush = ^O; min = 1; time = 0;

Here, i am not seeing M-DEL which is the emacs styled shortcut for delete one word backward.

What is the stty subcommand i can use to remap the key for backward-delete-word?

  • 1
    It's ^W. And ^U for the whole line. Why do you have eol and wol2 set to the same thing? And swtch? Weird. – mikeserv Jul 28 '15 at 3:11
  • i didn't change anything for eol, wol2... i never use them, and in fact, don't know what those abbreviations are – Madhavan Jul 28 '15 at 3:18
  • Well, that was a typo. They're End of Line and End of Line 2. They're mapped to Mod-Delete, it looks like - octal 377 or decimal byte 255. I guess probably your terminal or getty script or whatever set it up that way. try: (trap "stty $(stty -g;stty eol A)" 0; cat); then type an A and try to backspace over it. Use CTRL+D or CTRL+C to quit cat. Or (trap "stty $(stty -g;stty -echo eol A)" 0; cat) and type some stuff without entering a newline, then type A and see what happens. Usually those are null or \0 or ^- by default as far as I'm aware - so unassigned - but yours are set. – mikeserv Jul 28 '15 at 3:36

M-Del is just an emacs key binding. It's not something typically interpreted by the in-kernel tty driver. Backwards word erase, or werase, is set to control-W (^W) in your stty -a output.

The kernel works on bytes, and so if you use a UTF-8 encoding, it will be hard to bind non-ASCII characters to werase. In fact, M-Del would be 0xff, which is a byte that never appears in UTF-8.

Your best bet is to use a shell like bash or tcsh that puts the terminal in cbreak mode to implement its own line editing capabilities. Bash seems to bind M-Del to word erase by default. You can also run bind -P in bash to see what keys are bound to what editing functions.

  • Note that bash key bindings don't have any effect on input to other programs, unless those programs also make use of the readline library. – Barmar Jul 28 '15 at 18:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.