Mode N. [common] A General State, Usually Used With An Adjective Describing The State.

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mode n.

[common] A general state, usually used with an
adjective describing the state. Use of the word `mode' rather
than `state' implies that the state is extended over time, and
probably also that some activity characteristic of that state is
being carried out. "No time to hack; I'm in thesis mode." In its
jargon sense, `mode' is most often attributed to people, though
it is sometimes applied to programs and inanimate objects. In
particular, see hack mode, day mode,
demo mode, fireworks mode, and
talk mode.

One also often hears the verbs `enable' and `disable' used in
connection with jargon modes. Thus, for example, a sillier way of
saying "I'm going to crash" is "I'm going to enable crash mode
now". One might also hear a request to "disable flame mode,

In a usage much closer to techspeak, a mode is a special state that
certain user interfaces must pass into in order to perform certain
functions. For example, in order to insert characters into a
document in the Unix editor vi, one must type the "i" key,
which invokes the "Insert" command. The effect of this command
is to put vi into "insert mode", in which typing the "i" key
has a quite different effect (to wit, it inserts an "i" into the
document). One must then hit another special key, "ESC", in
order to leave "insert mode". Nowadays, modeful interfaces are
generally considered losing but survive in quite a few widely
used tools built in less enlightened times.