When I open a bash terminal in OSX and then type Alt + F to got back one word it instead opens the find dialog? Many of the other key-bindings have similar problems. How can I change this?
Preferences->Settings check the "Option as Meta Key" checkbox at the bottom.
You have the ctrl button one to the left of alt (option), this does everything in the terminal just like it would on a regular qwerty keyboard(windows, linux).
You can also use ctrl shortcut in the rest of your osx applications for a lot the same functions like end of line ctrl-f and beginning of line ctrl-a.
A very similar question was asked on stackoverflow and it has some really excellent answers already.