Meta Bit: N. The Top Bit Of An 8-bit Character, Which Is On In Character Values 128--255.

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:meta bit: n. The top bit of an 8-bit character, which is on in
character values 128--255. Also called {high bit}, {alt bit},
or {hobbit}. Some terminals and consoles (see {space-cadet
keyboard}) have a META shift key. Others (including,
*mirabile dictu*, keyboards on IBM PC-class machines) have an
ALT key. See also {bucky bits}.

Historical note: although in modern usage shaped by a universe of
8-bit bytes the meta bit is invariably hex 80 (octal 0200), things
were different on earlier machines with 36-bit words and 9-bit
bytes. The MIT and Stanford keyboards (see {space-cadet
keyboard}) generated hex 100 (octal 400) from their meta keys.
-- The AI Hackers Dictionary