When Trinity hacks into his computer and delivers her message, Neo hits CTRL+X. Why?

On Windows hitting CTRL+X will cut (I'm not sure about other operating systems).

A little searching around lead to a forum that suggested a few possibilities:

  • It was a way to exit DOS applications
  • The OS Neo uses was custom made by him or MetaCortex, so CTRL+X might have a different meaning.

Is their any official explanation?

  • 1
    In many command prompts, ctrl + z ends the current process. I can never remember that and end up hitting ctrl +c or ctrl + x first. Maybe Neo fat fingered the command.
    – Sethen
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 20:07
  • 4
    A lot of Emacs command sequences start with CTRL-x, like C-x C-c to exit, or C-x C-s to save.
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 21:41
  • 4
    I’m guessing it’s a Hollywood OS command. Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 21:46
  • 2
    The watching someone type on terminal reminded me of unix (talk) wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_(software), but ctrl-x doesn't do anything in that. Maybe one of the follow on versions like ytalk. But the fact that Neos next action is to hit escape repeatedly leads me to believe he's trying to kill the program
    – K Mo
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 22:06
  • 1
    The Matrix universe is different from ours, so you can't expect everything to work the same. Commented Dec 25, 2019 at 15:11

2 Answers 2


ctrl+x is how you exit the terminal based text editor popular on Linux systems called "nano".

Neo was trying to exit what was happening, in the same fashion.

  • nano-editor.org/dist/latest/cheatsheet.html
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 0:31
  • 3
    The Matrix released March 1999. Nano released (as TIP) November 1999. Was there a predecessor to Nano that used the same keys to exit?
    – K Mo
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 10:05
  • 11
    nano is a GPL-compatible clone of pico, which is from 1989.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 11:42
  • (To resolve the ambiguity: it's the text editor which is called ‘nano’, not the Linux systems :-)
    – gidds
    Commented Feb 12 at 18:39

Several of the common shells used in Unix (and by inheritance, Linux) use or can be configured to use ctl-x as an abbreviated exit command. Unix was found on some microcomputer systems (including the Tandy Model 12 that dated from the mid-1980s -- I used one on a dial-up connection for a while).

This command, then, could be symbolic; Neo issuing an "exit" command is equivalent to wanting to "exit" the shell that is the Matrix.

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