Definition of metacharacter in English:

metacharacter

Pronunciation /ˈmɛtəˌkarɪktə/

noun

  • 1Philosophy
    rare The character of a concept, etc., in a metalanguage; metalinguistic character.

  • 2Computing
    A character that is defined as having a controlling role by the computer program or operating system in use, and that gives information about how other characters are to be determined or gives rise to a specific action.

Origin

1960s; earliest use found in Mind. From meta- + character.