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Well it's not a specific aterm thing. It should work in most terminals. It's meant to stop the output to the terminal. It still accepts input put it's just buffered. It's supposed to be the same as a scroll lock key. Like pausing the text when a whole bunch of text is scrolling by.
Exactly, just like Mik said, but you can add features to any combination of keys, depending of the windows manager used, because all your keys are sent first to X, then to the windows manager, and if none of then catch then it goes to the application.
You've encountered the X-Off X-On protocol; Ctrl-S is X-Off and Ctrl-Q is X-On. The idea was to implement a pause at will, when listing a large file without using "more"...
Original purpose was to control paper tape readers when entering data at 110-baud via a teletype, back in June 1967 when I requested that the feature be added to General Electric's internal "remote access editing system" but it found its way into MULTICS from there, and subsequently into Unix. It's in most terminal programs now for backward compatibility...