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On my 14" M1 MBP running MacOS Monterey, pressing the escape key suddenly stopped registering for exiting dialogs or entering the command mode in VIM. I opened the on-screen keyboard in System Preferences->Accessibility and pressed escape, and it does register the keystroke.

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After trying a few things and reading around, it turned out that Siri was somehow to blame. I had also noticed lately that Siri had stopped working, it didn't trigger by voice or clicking the dock icon. After disabling and re-enabling Siri in System Preferences, the escape key immediately started working properly.

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    Well done, these sorts of preference settings small corruptions are hard to find. Jiggling the on/off handle is always a great thing to try...
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 1:49
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    Wow thank you so much, would never have guessed this! I had just (unsuccessfully) summoned Siri via Fn+Space and afterwards Esc stopped working - but I never would have connected the two events if not for this answer. Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 17:58

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