The various uses of the present symbol derive from several sources. The medieval virgule (Latin virgula) was an oblique or vertical line that served as a comma, period, and caesura mark and is still used in literary contexts for the slash marking line breaks. (This mark separately developed as the comma ⟨,⟩ and caesura mark ⟨‖⟩ and some senses of the vertical bar ⟨|⟩.) The shilling mark (Latin solidus) was variously written s. or as the long s ſ. This eventually developed into a single unpunctuated slash; its use to separate shillings from pence was sometimes generalized to any currency division. Most mathematical senses derived from the earlier horizontal fraction bar (as in 12), rewritten with a slash by the 18th century to permit fractions to be written on a single line. As a separator and conjunction, it represents an oblique form of the dash ⟨–⟩ or hyphen ⟨-⟩. Its use to mark supposed actions derives from command formatting in online chat forums, while its use to comment on preceding text derives from its use in some programming languages to form closing tags. Its present British name stroke derives from its use in telegraphy; its present American name slash gained wide currency from its use in computing.
- Used to denote a line or paragraph break when quoting poems, scripts, song lyrics, etc. in a single-line format.
Never gonna give you up / Never gonna let you down
- Used to separate multiple gendered inflections in gender-neutral writing.
Freund/innen; ein/e Beamt/er/in
- friends (of any gender); an officer (of any gender)
- (informal, text messaging) Uses in texting.
- Used to show that the following text is to be understood as an action or programming command performed by the writer, in the manner of an online chat command.
- Used after commentary to clarify the intended meaning of the preceding text, in the manner of a closing tag.
I support him completely /s
- (computing) Used to separate commands or keys that can be typed, usually in a command prompt.
- (numismatics, sometimes proscribed) Used to separate base currency units from their subdivisions; or, when followed by a dash or hyphen marking an even sum.
- (poker) Used to separate the small blind from the big blind.
Which game do you want to play? The $1/$2 or the $2/$5?
- (proofreading) Used to denote the end of a marginal note, or to separate two such notes.
- Used in place of a dash or hyphen in several contexts.
- Uses relating to time periods.
- (usually informal) Used to separate the components of a date.
9/11 is September 11th to most Americans but the 9th of November in the British Isles.
- Used to mark a period spanning two dates, such as the night beginning on one day and ending on the next, or the winter spanning two years.
Santa Claus is said to visit all the world’s children on the night of December 24/25.
- (ISO standard) Used to mark normal date ranges.
We coded that over the fall term of our senior year, 2010-09-01/12-22.
- Used to separate a particular amount (such as a score) or location (such as a page) from the total number of possible points or similar items.
I got a grade of 85/100 on the midterm test.
- (politics) Used to separate percentages for and against or approving and disapproving (always in that order) in poll results.
Her approval numbers stand at 42/23, meaning she presently has a net favorability of +19 but that a large number of voters remain undecided.
- Used in forming some abbreviations.
- Used to form abbreviations of units derived through division.
The formal abbreviation for kilometers per hour is km/h.
The exchange rate of euros in terms of dollars is expressed EUR/USD.
- Used to form numerous contractions and initialisms, particularly of two-word phrases.
w/ (with), w/o (without), b/c (because), and 24/7 (24 hours/day, 7 days/week).
- Used in some contexts to mark hierarchies.
The American Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation is formally abbreviated FAA/AST.
- (obsolete) A medieval and early modern form of the comma ⟨,⟩.
- (obsolete) A medieval form of the period ⟨.⟩.
- See / / for uses of the / to enclose other characters, as in /pɹənʌntsiˈeɪʃəns/.
- The mark was originally known as the virgula or virgule in its medieval use as a form of period or comma. It is now defined by Unicode and ISO as the solidus, a late-19th-century British term for the shilling mark. (Some typographers mistaken label this mark as the virgule and distinguish the solidus as the fraction slash ⟨⁄⟩, but neither historical nor present official use supports such a distinction.) The mark is now generally known by the American term slash, although still frequently known as a stroke in British English. For translations and less common English names, see slash.
- In most uses such as to indicate date separations and line breaks, the mark is not mentioned when the text is read aloud. In some cases, it is replaced by a term, such as “even” for currency or “out of” for totals.
- (many senses): -, –
- (line breaks): |
- (currency subdivision mark): ., ·
- (abbreviation mark): ., -
- / / (used to mark broad phonemic transcriptions)
- / / (used to italicize text in the absence of italic formatting)
- (proscribed) exclusive or (used to link mutually-exclusive alternatives)
- I think she/he writes very well.
- I think s/he writes very well.
- (sometimes proscribed) inclusive or (used to link compatible alternatives or joint items)
- He's an actor/model.
- (mathematics) A single-line division sign, used with full-size numerals. See also ∕ (“division slash”).
- (mathematics) A single-line fraction divider, used with full-size numerals. See also ⁄ (“fraction slash”).
- (historical, numismatics) The currency sign for British, Irish, Kenyan, etc. shillings.