This article is about the punctuation.
For the root directory in Unix and Unix-like operating systems, see Root directory.
The slash is an oblique slanting line punctuation mark /.
A slash in the reverse direction \ is known as a backslash.
(The first sense was eventually lost to the low dot and the other two developed separately into the comma , and caesura mark ||) Its use as a comma became especially widespread in France, where it was also used to mark the continuation of a word onto the next line of a page, a sense later taken on by the hyphen -.
In the 18th century, the mark was generally known in English as the "oblique".
The variant "oblique stroke" was increasingly shortened to "stroke", which became the common British name for the character, although printers and publishing professionals often instead referred to it as an "oblique".
The name "slash" is a recent development, first attested in American English c. 1961, but has gained wide currency through its use in computing, a context where it is sometimes even used in British English in preference to the usual name "stroke".
Disjunction and conjunction
Such slashes may be used to avoid taking a position in naming disputes.
One example is the Syriac naming dispute, which prompted the US and Swedish censuses to use the respective official designations "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac" and "Assyrier/Syrianer" for the ethnic group.
For example, in Spanish, hijo is a son and a hija is a daughter; some proponents of gender-neutral language advocate the use of hijo/a or hijo(a) when writing for a general audience or addressing a listener of unknown gender.
Similarly, in German, Sekretär refers to any secretary and Sekretärin to an explicitly female secretary; some advocates of gender neutrality support forms such as Sekretär/-in for general use.
This does not always work smoothly, however: problems arise in the case of words like Arzt ("doctor") where the explicitly female form Ärztin is umlauted and words like Chinese ("Chinese person") where the explicitly female form Chinesin loses the terminal -e.
Connecting non-contrasting items
Introducing topic shifts
The word "slash" is also developing as a way to introduce topic shifts or follow-up statements.
"Slash" can introduce a follow up statement, such as, "I really love that hot dog place on Liberty Street.
Slash can we go there tomorrow?"
It can also indicate a shift to an unrelated topic, as in "JUST SAW ALEX!
Slash I just chubbed on oatmeal raisin cookies at north quad and i miss you."
The new usage of "slash" appears most frequently in spoken conversation, though it can also appear in writing.
Sometimes the word "slash" is used in speech as a conjunction to represent the written role of the character, e.g. "bee slash mosquito protection" for a beekeeper's net hood, and "There's a little bit of nectar slash honey over here, but really it's not a lot."
Such formatting developed as a way to write the horizontal fraction bar on a single line of text.
This notation is known as an online, solidus, or shilling fraction.
This notation is responsible for the current form of the percent ⟨%⟩, permille ⟨‰⟩, and permyriad ⟨‱⟩ signs, developed from the horizontal form 0/0 which represented an early modern corruption of an Italian abbreviation of per cento.
Many fonts draw the fraction slash (and the division slash) less vertical than the slash.
The separate encoding is also intended to permit automatic formatting of the preceding and succeeding digits by glyph substitution with numerator and denominator glyphs (e.g., display of "1, fraction slash, 2" as "½"), though this is not yet supported in many environments or fonts.
Because of this lack of support, some authors still use Unicode subscripts and superscripts to compose fractions, and many fonts design these characters for this purpose.
This use developed from the fraction slash in the late 18th or early 19th century.
The formatting was advocated by De Morgan in the mid-19th century.
Quotient of set
The slash, sometimes distinguished as "forward slash", is used in computing in a number of ways, primarily as a separator among levels in a given hierarchy, for example in the path of a filesystem.
For example, in IPv4, the prefix size /29 gives: 2 = 2 = 8 addresses.
In Raku the double slash is used as a "defined-or" alternative to ||.
For example, in HTML, begins a section of bold text and closes it.
In XHTML, slashes are also necessary for "self-closing" elements such as the newline command
where HTML has simply
In a style originating in the Digital Equipment Corporation line of operating systems (OS/8, RT-11, TOPS-10, et cetera), Windows, DOS, some CP/M programs, OpenVMS, and OS/2 all use the slash to indicate command-line options.
For example, the command dir/w is understood as using the command dir ("directory") with the "wide" option.
Notice that no space is required between the command and the switch; this was the reason for the choice to use backslashes as the path separator since one would otherwise be unable to run a program in a different directory.
Slashes are used as the standard delimiters for regular expressions, although other characters can be used instead.
IBM JCL uses a double slash to start each line in a batch job stream except for /* and /&.
IRC and many in-game chat clients use the slash to mark commands, such as joining and leaving a chat room or sending private messages.
For example, in IRC, /join #services is an command to join the channel "services" and /me is a command to format the following message as though it were an action instead of a spoken message.
In Minecraft's chat function, the slash is used for executing console and plugin commands.
In Second Life's chat function, the slash is used to select the "communications channel", allowing users to direct commands to virtual objects "listening" on different channels.
For example, if a virtual house's lights were set to use channel 42, the command "/42 on" would turn them on.
The Gedcom standard for exchanging computerized genealogical data uses slashes to delimit surnames.
Example: Bill /Smith/ Jr.
Slashes around surnames are also used in .
Before the decimalization of currency in Britain, its currency symbols (collectively £sd) represented their Latin names, derived from a medieval French modification of the late Roman libra, solidus, and denarius.
When the d. fell out of general use, one penny less than two pounds was written £1 19/11.
Similarly, "2/6" meant two shillings sixpence.
For example, "£50/-" is a variant of £50.00 and serves a similar function of providing clarity and ensuring that no further digits are added to the end of the number.
This value may then be multiplied by any number of euros to find its value in dollars.
Depending on context, it may be in the form Day/Month/Year, Month/Day/Year, or Year/Month/Day.
If only two elements are present, they typically denote a day and month in some order.
For example, 9/11 is a common American way of writing the date 11 September and has become shorthand for the attacks on New York and Washington, DC, which occurred on a day Britons write as 11/9/2001.
Owing to the ambiguity across cultures, the practice of using only two elements to denote a date is sometimes proscribed.
In the ISO 8601 system, slashes represent date ranges: "1939/1945" represents what is more commonly written with an en dash as "1935–1945" or with a hyphen as "1935-1945".
The autumn term of a northern-hemisphere school year might be marked "2010-09-01/12-22".
In English, a range marked by a slash often has a separate meaning from one marked by a dash or hyphen.
"24/25 December" would mark the time shared by both days (i.e., the night from Christmas Eve to Christmas morning) rather than the time made up by both days together, which would be written "24–25 December".
Similarly, a historical reference to "1066/67" might imply an event occurred during the winter of late 1066 and early 1067, whereas a reference to 1066–67 would cover the entirety of both years.
It is also used by some police forces in the United States.
The slash is used in numbering to note totals.
For example, "page 17/35" indicates that the relevant passage is on the 17th page of a 35-page document.
Similarly, the marking "#333/500" on a product indicates it is the 333rd out of 500 identical products or out of a batch of 500 such products.
For scores on schoolwork, in games, &c., "85/100" indicates 85 points were attained out of a possible 100.
Slashes are also sometimes used to mark ranges in numbers that already include hyphens or dashes.
One example is the ISO treatment of dating.
Another is the US Air Force's treatment of aircraft serial numbers, which are normally written to note the fiscal year and aircraft number.
For example, "85-1000" notes the thousandth aircraft ordered in fiscal year 1985.
To indicate the next fifty subsequent aircraft, a slash is used in place of a hyphen or dash: "85-1001/1050".
For example, the IPA transcription of the English pronunciation of "solidus" is written /ˈsɒlɪdəs/.
For example, the word "little" may be broadly rendered as /ˈlɪtəl/ but a careful transcription of the velarization of the second L would be written [ˈlɪɾɫ̩].
In sociolinguistics, a double or triple slash may also be used in the transcription of a traditional sociolinguistic interview or in other type of linguistic elicitation to represent simultaneous speech, interruptions, and certain types of speech disfluencies.
into a prose paragraph, it is standard to mark the line breaks as "To be, or not to be, that is the question: / Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And by opposing end them..." Less often, virgules are used in marking paragraph breaks when quoting a prose passage.
The virgule may be thinner than a standard slash when typeset.
The slash has become standard in several abbreviations.
Generally, it is used to mark two-letter initialisms such as A/C (short for "air conditioner"), w/o ("without"), b/w ("black and white" or, less often, "between"), w/e ("whatever" or, less often, "weekend" or "week ending"), i/o ("input/output"), r/w ("read/write"), and n/a ("not applicable").
Other initialisms employing the slash include w/ ("with") and w/r/t ("with regard to").
The abbreviation 24/7 (denoting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) describes a business that is always open or unceasing activity.
The slash in derived units such as m/s (meters per second) is not an abbreviation slash, but a straight division.
It is however in that position read as 'per' rather than e.g. 'over', which can be seen as analogous to units whose symbols are pure abbreviations such as mph (miles per hour), although in abbreviations 'per' is 'p' or dropped entirely (psi, pounds per square inch) rather than a slash.
In the US government, the names of offices within various departments are abbreviated using slashes, starting with the larger office and following with its subdivisions.
The slash is used in fan fiction to mark the romantic pairing a piece will focus upon (e.g., a K/S denoted a Star Trek story would focus on a sexual relationship between Kirk and Spock), a usage which developed in the 1970s from the earlier friendship pairings marked by ampersands (e.g., K&S).
The genre as a whole is now known as slash fiction.
In situations where other pairings occur, the genres may be distinguished as m/m, f/f, &c.
The slash is used under the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules to separate the title of a work from its statement of responsibility (i.e., the listing of its author, director, &c.).
Like a line break, this slash is surrounded by a single space on either side.
- Gone with the Wind / by Margaret Mitchell.
- Star Trek II. The Wrath of Khan [videorecording] / Paramount Pictures.
The format is used in both card catalogs and online records.
The slash is sometimes used as an abbreviation for building numbers.
For example, in some contexts, 8/A Evergreen Gardens specifies Apartment 8 in Building A of the residential complex Evergreen Gardens.
In the United States, however, such an address refers to the first division of Apartment 8 and is simply a variant of Apartment 8A or 8-A.
Similarly in the United Kingdom, an address such as 12/2 Anywhere Road means flat (or apartment) 2 in the building numbered 12 on Anywhere Road.
The slash is used in various scansion notations for representing the metrical pattern of a line of verse, typically to indicate a stressed syllable.
In online messaging, a slash might be used to imitate the formatting of a chat command (e.g., writing "/fliptable" as though there were such a command) or the closing tags of languages such as HTML (e.g., writing "/endrant" to end an ironic diatribe or "/s" to mark the preceding text as sarcastic).
A pair of slashes is sometimes used as a way to mark italic text, where no special formatting is available (e.g., /italics/).
A single slash is sometimes used as a way of expressing a check mark, with the meaning "OK", "got it", "done", or "thanks".
These slashes are usually placed at the end of a statement.
There are usually no spaces either before or after a slash.
According to New Hart's Rules: The Oxford Style Guide, a slash is usually written without spacing on either side when it connects single words, letters or symbols.
Exceptions are in representing the start of a new line when quoting verse, or a new paragraph when quoting prose.
The Chicago Manual of Style also allows spaces when either of the separated items is a compound that itself includes a space: "Our New Zealand / Western Australia trip".
The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing prescribes, "No space before or after an oblique when used between individual words, letters or symbols; one space before and after the oblique when used between longer groups which contain internal spacing", giving the examples "n/a" and "Language and Society / Langue et société".
According to The Chicago Manual of Style, when typesetting a URL or computer path, line breaks should occur before a slash but not in the text between two slashes.
The same value was used in Unicode, which calls it "solidus" and also adds some more characters:
- U+002F / SOLIDUS
- U+2044 ⁄ FRACTION SLASH
- U+2215 ∕ DIVISION SLASH
- U+29F8 ⧸ BIG SOLIDUS
- U+FF0F ／ FULLWIDTH SOLIDUS (fullwidth version of solidus)
- U+1F67C 🙼 VERY HEAVY SOLIDUS
|diagonal||An uncommon name for the slash in all its uses, but particularly the less vertical fraction slash.|
|division slash||Unicode's formal name for the variant of the slash used to mark division.|
|forward slash||A retronym used to distinguish slash from a backslash following the popularization of MS-DOS and other Microsoft operating systems, which use the backslash for paths in its file system. Less often forward stroke (UK), foreslash, front slash, and frontslash. It is not unknown to even see such back-formations as reverse backslash.|
|fraction slash||Unicode's formal name for the low slash used to marking fractions. Also sometimes known as the fraction bar, although this more properly refers to the horizontal bar.|
|oblique||A formerly common name for the slash in all its uses. Also oblique stroke, oblique dash, &c.|
|scratch comma||A modern name for the virgule's historic use as a form of comma.|
|separatrix||Originally, the vertical line separating integers from decimals before the advent of the decimal point; later used for the vertical bar or slash used in proofreader's marginalia to denote the intended replacement for a letter or word struckthrough in proofed text or to separate margin notes. Sometimes misapplied to virgules.|
|shilling mark||A development of the long S ſ used as a currency symbol for the former English shilling (Latin: solidus). Also known as a shilling stroke. Now obsolete except in historical contexts.|
|slant||From its shape, an infrequent name except (as slants) in its use to mark pronunciations off from other text and as the official ASCII name of the character. Also slant line(s) or bar(s).|
|slash mark||An alternative name used to distinguish the punctuation mark from the word's other senses.|
|slat||An uncommon name for the slash used by the esoteric programming language INTERCAL. Also slak.|
|solidus||Another name for the shilling mark (from the Latin form of its name), also applied to other slashes separating numbers or letters, adopted by the ISO and Unicode as their formal name for the slash. When used as a fraction bar, the solidus is less vertical than a standard slash, generally close to 45° and kerned on both sides; this use is distinguished by Unicode as the fraction slash. (This use is sometimes mistakenly described as the sole meaning of "solidus", with its use as a shilling mark and slash distinguished under the name "virgule".) The solidus's use as a division sign is distinguished as the division slash. The "combining short" or "long solidus overlay" is a diagonal strikethrough.|
|stroke||A common British name for the slash in nearly all its uses, a contraction of oblique stroke popularized by its use in telegraphy. It is particularly employed in reading the mark out loud: "he stroke she" is the common British reading of "he/she". "Slash" has, however, become common in Britain in computing contexts, while some North American amateur radio enthusiasts employ the British "stroke". Less frequently, "stroke" is also used to refer to hyphens.|
|virgule||A development of virgula ("twig"), the original medieval Latin name of the character when it was used as a period, scratch comma, and caesura mark. Now primarily used as the name of the slash when it is used to mark line breaks in quotations. Sometimes mistakenly distinguished as a formal name for the slash, as against the solidus's supposed use as a fraction slash. Formerly sometimes anglicized in British sources as the virgil.|
The slash may also be read out as and, or, and/or, to, or cum in some compounds separated by a slash; over or out of in fractions, division, and numbering; and per or a(n) in derived units (as km/h) and prices (as $~/kg), where the division slash stands for "each".
- Strikethrough, including slashes through figures
- Feynman slash notation in physics, which employs slash-like strikethroughs
- Inequality sign, an equals sign with a slash-like strikethrough
- /, a book by Greg Bear (read Slant)
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash (punctuation).