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2 definitions found
 for mode bit
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  mode bit
   n.
  
      [common] A flag, usually in hardware, that selects between two (usually
      quite different) modes of operation. The connotations are different from {
      flag bit in that mode bits are mainly written during a boot or set-up
      phase, are seldom explicitly read, and seldom change over the lifetime of
      an ordinary program. The classic example was the EBCDIC-vs.-ASCII bit (#12)
      of the Program Status Word of the IBM 360.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  mode bit
  
     A flag, usually in hardware, that selects between two
     (usually quite different) modes of operation.  The
     connotations are different from flag bit in that mode bits
     are mainly written during a boot or set-up phase, are seldom
     explicitly read, and seldom change over the lifetime of an
     ordinary program.  The classic example was the
     EBCDIC-vs.-ASCII bit (#12) of the Program Status Word of the
     IBM 360.  Another was the bit on a PDP-12 that controlled
     whether it ran the PDP-8 or the LINC instruction set.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  

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