I have enabled the mode prompt indicator in my ~/.inputrc with set show-mode-in-prompt on. There is a delay of about half a second in the indicator when switching to normal mode after pressing ESC but no delay in the indicator when entering insert mode. I am aware of a similar issue experienced inside of Vim and when using Tmux or Screen with Vi mode turned on (see e.g. ESC key causes a small delay in terminal due to its Alt+ behavior). There are solutions for each of those delays but I haven't found a way to fix the delay in my specific case (Bash + urxvt). Any ideas?

1 Answer 1


That sounds like keyseq-timeout, which is 500 (milliseconds). You could decrease it, e.g., to 50 (milliseconds). Setting it to zero would be a bad idea (see for example Re: How does one disable completion when nothing but tabs or spaces is on the line?).

Not a duplicate, but one of the answers in How do I switch to vi editing mode in readline? uses the feature:

# Enable Readline not waiting for additional input when a key is pressed.
# Needed for the mappings below.
set keyseq-timeout 0
  • Exactly what I needed.
    – ramblenode
    Oct 25, 2016 at 1:57

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