Slash (punctuation)

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Slash (punctuation)
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{{Technical reasons|:/|the keyboard symbol|List of emoticons}}{{Technical reasons|/.|the website|Slashdot}}{{Punctuation marks|/|caption=Slash}} begins a section of bold text and {{mono|}} closes it. In XHTML, slashes are also necessary for "self-closing" elements such as the newline command {{nowrap|{{mono|
}}}} where HTML has simply {{nowrap|{{mono|
}}}}.Windows, DOS, some CP/M programs, OpenVMS, and OS/2 all use the slash to indicate command-line options. For example, the command {{mono|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 responsible 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, {{mono|/join #services}} is an command to join the channel "services" and {{mono|/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 Personal Ancestral File.


The slash (as the "shilling mark" or "solidus"){{citation |last=Fowler |first=Francis George |title=The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English |p=829 }}. was the currency sign of the shilling, a former coin of the United Kingdom and its former colonies. 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 Romanlibra, solidus, and denarius.{{citation |contribution=Money in Shakespeare |last=Ojima |first=Fumita |publisher=Toyo University Press |location=Tokyo |issue=No. 63 |title=Journal of Business Administration |oclc=835683007 |p=113 |date=November 2004 |contribution-url= |issn=0286-6439 |accessdate=10 June 2014 |deadurl=no |archivedate=10 June 2014 |archiveurl= }}. Thus, one penny less than two pounds was written {{nowrap|£1 19s. 11d.}} During the period when English orthography included the long s {{angle brackets|ſ}}, the s. (that is, ſ.) came to be written as a single slash.{{citation |title=The Chicago Manual of Style, 13th ed. |publisher=University of Chicago Press |date=1982 |p=676 }}.{{citation |title=(Scientific Style and Format|Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers) |date=1994 |p=65 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge }}. When the d. fell out of general use, one penny less than two pounds was written {{nowrap|£1 19/11.}} Similarly, "2/6" meant two shillings sixpence. In Britain, exactly five shillings was typically written "5∕-" while, in East Africa, it was more common to mark it with a double hyphen as "5/=". The same style was also used under the British Raj and early independent India for the predecimalization rupee/anna/pie system.{{citation |url= |date=7 October 2007 |archivedate=9 May 2012 |archiveurl= |deadurl=no |title=Proposal to Encode North Indic Number Forms in ISO/IEC 10646 |last=Pandey |first=Anshuman |publisher=University of Michigan |p=8 }}.In decimalized currency, a slash followed by a dash {{angle brackets|/-}} continues to be used in some places to mark an exact amount of currency with no subunits. 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.The slash is used in currency exchangerate notation to express exchange rates, the ratio of the first currency in terms of the second. For example, EUR/USD x expresses that the value of 1 euro in terms of US dollars is x. This value may then be multiplied by any number of euros to find its value in dollars.{{anchor|Dating}}


Slashes are a common calendar date separator used across many countries and by some standards such as the Common Log Format used by web servers. 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 September 11 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.{{citation |title=The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |date=2016 |at=6.106 }}.Because of the world's many varying conventional date and time formats, ISO 8601 advocates the use of a Year-Month-Day system separated by hyphens (e.g., Armistice Day first occurred on 1918-11-11). 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". This formal notation is sometimes{{When|reason=Is there a file system that disallows single hyphens?|date=July 2019}} emended to use double hyphens instead (as {{not a typo|1939--1945}}) to permit its use in file names.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,{{citation |title=The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |date=2016 |at=6.105 }}. whereas a reference to 1066–67 would cover the entirety of both years. The usage was particularly common in British English during World War II, where such slash dates were used for night-bombingair raids. 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".

Linguistic transcription

A pair of slashes (as "slants") are used in the transcription of speech to enclose pronunciations (i.e., phonetic transcriptions). For example, the IPA transcription of the English pronunciation of "solidus" is written {{IPA|/ˈsɒlɪdəs/}}. Properly, slashes mark broad or phonemic transcriptions, whereas narrow, allophonic transcriptions are enclosed by square brackets. For example, the word "little" may be broadly rendered as {{IPA|/ˈlɪtəl/}} but a careful transcription of the velarization of the second L would be written {{IPA|[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.


The Iraqw language uses the slash as a letter, representing the voiced pharyngeal fricative, as in (:wikt:/ameeni|/ameeni), "woman".Henry R. T. Muzale, Josephat M. Rugemalira, Researching and Documenting the Languages of Tanzania (2008): "Iraqw orthography includes two letters not used in writing Kiswa-hili, q for the voiceless uvular stop, and x for the voiceless velar fricative. It also uses symbols that are not even part of the Roman alphabet, including a slash / for the pharyngeal fricative, and an apostrophe ' for the glottal stop (Mous et al. 2002)."{{anchor|Poetry}}

Line breaks

The slash (as a "virgule") offset by spaces to either side is used to mark line breaks when transcribing text from a multi-line format into a single-line one.{{citation |title=The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |date=2016 |at=13.27 }}. It is particularly common in quoting poetry, song lyrics, and dramatic scripts, formats where omitting the line breaks risks losing meaningful context. For example, when quoting Hamlet's soliloquyTo be, or not to be, that is the question:Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to sufferThe Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,And by opposing end them...{{citation |last=Shakespeare |first=William |authorlink=William Shakespeare |authormask=Shakespeare |title=Hamlet |at=Act III, Scene ii}}.into a prose paragraph, it is standard to mark the line breaks as "To be, or not to be, that is the {{nowrap|question: /}} Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to {{nowrap|suffer /}} The slings and arrows of outrageous {{nowrap|Fortune, /}} Or to take arms against a sea of {{nowrap|troubles, /}} And by opposing end them..." Less often, virgules are used in marking paragraph breaks when quoting a prose passage. Some style guides, such as Hart's, prefer to use a pipe {{angle brackets|{{!}}}} in place of the slash to mark these line and paragraph breaks.The virgule may be thinner than a standard slash when typeset. In computing contexts, it may be necessary to use a non-breaking space before the virgule to prevent it from being widowed on the next line.{{anchor|Derived units}}


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"). Such slashed abbreviations are somewhat more common in British English and were more common around the Second World War (as with "S/E" to mean "single-engined"). The abbreviation 24/7 (denoting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) describes a business that is always open or unceasing activity.{{citation |contribution=4.13.1 Solidus |contribution-url= |title=New Hart's Rules: The Oxford Style Guide |url= |editor=Anne Waddingham |display-editors=0 |date=2014 |accessdate=18 February 2016 |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=Oxford |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=9 February 2016 |df=dmy-all }}.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. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation is formally abbreviated FAA/AST.


The slash or vertical bar (as a "separatrix") is used in proofreading to mark the end of margin notes{{refn|group=n|For an example of this in practice, see the section on proofreading marks in New Hart's Rules.{{citation |title=New Hart's Rules |contribution=Proofreading Marks |contribution-url= }}.}} or to separate margin notes from one another. The slash is also sometimes used in various proofreading initialisms, such as l/c and u/c for changes to lower and upper case, respectively.


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. Because it is more generally associated with homosexual male relationships, lesbian slash fiction is sometimes distinguished as femslash. 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. For example:
  • 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,{{where?|date=February 2016}} 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.


Slashes are used in musical notation as an alternative to writing out specific notes where it is easier to read than traditional notation or where the player can improvise. They are commonly used to indicate chords either in place of or in combination with traditional notation and for drummers as an indication to continue with the previously indicated style.


A slash is used to mark a spare (knocking down all ten pins in two throws) when scoring ten-pin and duckpin bowling.{{citation |contribution-url= |contribution=Scoring |url= |title=Duckpins |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=16 March 2015 |df=dmy-all }}.{{anchor|Emoji}}

Text messaging

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". In Japan, a set of multiple slashes (typically three: ///) is used to convey shyness or embarrassment, owing to the way blushing is depicted in manga. These slashes are usually placed at the end of a statement.


A slash is usually written without spacing on either side when it connects single words, letters, or symbols. It is, however, common to include a space on each side of the slash when it connects items which themselves have spaces—for example, when marking line breaks in quoted verse or when connecting other items with several words such as "our New {{nowrap|Zealand /}} Western Australia trip".{{citation |title=The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing }}. When typesetting a URL or computer path, line breaks should occur before a slash but not in the text between two slashes.{{citation |title=The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |date=2016 |at=7.42 }}.


(File:Big solidus in folder name compared with slash in text.png|thumb|Though the slash is prohibited in Windows file and folder names, the big solidus is permitted (first box above). In this context, it is very similar to the slash (second box).)As a very common character, the slash (as slant) was originally encoded in ASCII with the decimal code {{mono|47}} ({{mono|0x2F}}). It is represented in Unicode (as solidus) by the code point with the same value, {{mono|U+002F}}.In XML and HTML, the slash can also be represented with the character entity {{mono|/}} or {{mono|/}} or {{mono|/}}.WEB, Character Codes – HTML Codes, Hexadecimal Codes & HTML Names ❤,weblink, 7 August 2016, no,weblink" title="">weblink 7 August 2016, dmy-all, Unicode also contains the {{nowrap|fraction slash}} ({{mono|U+2044}} ⁄ ), the {{nowrap|division slash}} ({{mono|U+2215}} ∕ ), the {{nowrap|big solidus}} ({{mono|U+29F8}} ⧸ ), the {{nowrap|fullwidth solidus}} ({{mono|U+FF0F}} /), and the {{nowrap|very heavy solidus}} ({{mono|U+1F67C}} 🙼).

Alternative names

{| class="wikitable"! Name !! Use case
caption1=Fraction slashcaption2=Division slashcaption3=Fullwidth solidus}}The slash is an oblique slanting line punctuation mark. Once used to mark periods and commas, the slash is now most often used to represent exclusive or inclusive or, division and fractions, and as a date separator. It is called a solidus in Unicode, is sometimes known as a stroke in British English, and it has several other historical or technical names, including oblique and virgule.A slash in the reverse direction () is known as a backslash.


Slashes may be found in early writing as a variant form of dashes, vertical strokes, etc. The present use of a slash distinguished from such other marks derives from the medieval European virgule (, {{nowrap|{{abbr|lit|literally}}. "twig"),}} which was used as a period, scratch comma, and caesura mark. (The first sense was eventually lost to the low dot and the other two developed separately into the comma {{angle brackets|,}} and caesura mark {{angle brackets|{{!}}{{!}}}}.) 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 {{angle brackets|-}}.{{citation |last=Partridge |first=Eric |url= |title=You Have a Point There: A Guide to Punctuation and Its Allies |publisher=Hamish Hamilton, republished 2005 by Taylor & Francis |location=London |date=1953 |isbn=0-415-05075-8 |contribution-url= |contribution=The Virgule (or Virgil) or the Oblique |p=155 f |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=3 March 2016 |df=dmy-all }}. The Fraktur script used throughout Central Europe in the early modern period used a single slash as a scratch comma and a double slash (//) as a dash. The double slash developed into the double oblique hyphen {{angle brackets|⸗}} and double hyphen {{angle brackets|=}} or {{angle brackets|゠}} before being usually simplified into various single dashes.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". In the 19th and early 20th century, it was also widely known as the "shilling mark" or "solidus", from its use as the currency sign for the shilling. The name "slash" is a recent development, first attested in American English {{circa|lk=no|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". Clarifying terms such as "forward slash" have been coined owing to widespread use of Microsoft's DOS and Windows operating systems, which use the backslash extensively.


{{anchor|Or|Gender neutrality|Gender-neutrality}}



Connecting alternatives

{{see also|Gender neutrality in languages with grammatical gender}}The slash is commonly used in many languages as a shorter substitute for the conjunction "or", typically with the sense of exclusive or (e.g., Y/N permits yes or no but not both). Its use in this sense is somewhat informal,{{citation |title=The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |date=2016 |at=6.104 }}. although it is used in philology to note variants (e.g., virgula/{{not a typo|uirgula}}) and etymologies (e.g., {{nowrap|F. virgule/}}{{nowrap|LL. virgula/}}{{nowrap|L. virga/}}{{nowrap|PIE. *wirgā).}}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.In particular, since the late 20th century, the slash is used to permit more gender-neutral language in place of the traditional masculine or plural gender neutrals. In the case of English, this is usually restricted to degendered pronouns such as "he/she" or "s/he". Most other Indo-European languages include more far-reaching use of grammatical gender. In these, the separate gendered desinences (grammatical suffices) of the words may be given divided by slashes or set off with parentheses. For example, in Spanish, is a son and a is a daughter; some proponents of gender-neutral language advocate the use of or when writing for a general audience or addressing a listener of unknown gender.{{citationp |last=Cunha |author2-last=Cintra |display-authors=1 |ref={{harvid|Cunha & al.|2001}} |date=2001 |title=Nova Gramática do Português Contemporâneo, 3rd ed. |location=Rio de Janeiro |publisher=Nova Fronteira |isbn=85-209-1137-4 }}. {{pt icon}}{{citation |url= |format=PDF |title=Coleção Números Polêmicos |deadurl=yes |archiveurl= |archivedate=14 July 2011 |accessdate=29 July 2012 }}. {{pt icon}}{{citation |first=Robson |last=Fernando de Souza |contribution-url= |contribution=A proposta do Português com Inclusão de Gênero |title=Consciência Efervescente |date=27 February 2004 |accessdate=24 July 2012 }}. {{pt icon}}{{citation |title=Portuguese with Inclusion of Gender }}. Less commonly, the æ{{Citation needed|reason=Unlike @ which gets used often these days, I have never seen æ in my entire life in any Spanish speaking country, and it doesn't even make sense as ae is nowhere near a/o|date=April 2017}} ligature or at sign {{angle brackets|@}} is used instead: . Similarly, in German, refers to any secretary and to an explicitly female secretary; some advocates of gender neutrality support forms such as for general use. This does not always work smoothly, however: problems arise in the case of words like ("doctor") where the explicitly female form is umlauted and words like ("Chinese person") where the explicitly female form loses the terminal -e.{{anchor|And}}

Connecting non-contrasting items

The slash is also used as a shorter substitute for the conjunction "and" or inclusive or (i.e., A or B or both), typically in situations where it fills the role of a hyphen or en dash. For example, the "Hemingway/Faulkner generation" might be used to discuss the era of the Lost Generation inclusive of the people around and affected by both Hemingway and Faulkner. This use is sometimes proscribed, as by New Hart's Rules, the style guide for the Oxford University Press.

Presenting routes

The slash, as a form of inclusive or, is also used to punctuate the stages of a route (e.g., Shanghai/Nanjing/Wuhan/Chongqing as stops on a tour of the Yangtze).9

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.WEB,weblink Slash: Not Just a Punctuation Mark Anymore, Lingua Franca, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Curzan, Anne, no,weblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2013, dmy-all, {{anchor|Math|Maths}}

{{anchor|Arithmetic|Fraction|Ratio|Ratios}} Mathematics


The fraction slash {{angle brackets| ⁄ }}, is used between two numbers to indicate a fraction or ratio. Fractions, unlike inline division, are often given using smaller numbers, superscript, and subscript (e.g., {{not a typo|²³⁄₄₂}}). Such formatting developed as a way to write the horizontal fraction bar on a single line of text. It is first attested in England and Mexico in the 18th century.{{citation |last=Miller |first=Jeff |contribution=Fractions |contribution-url= |url= |title=Earliest Uses of Various Mathematical Symbols |date=22 December 2014 |accessdate=15 February 2016 |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=20 February 2016 |df=dmy-all }}. This notation is known as an online, solidus,{{citation |last=Eckersley |first=Richard |author2=Richard Angstadt |author3=Charles M. Ellertson |author4=Richard Hendel |author5=Naomi B. Pascal |author6=Anita Walker Scott |display-authors=1 |title=Glossary of Typesetting Terms |publisher=University of Chicago Press |location=Chicago |url= |date=1994 |ref={{harvid|Eckersley & al.|1994}} |isbn=0-226-18371-8 |p=97 |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=12 April 2016 |df=dmy-all }}. or shilling fraction. This notation is responsible for the current form of the percent {{angle brackets|%}}, permille {{angle brackets|‰}}, and permyriad {{angle brackets|‱}} signs, developed from the horizontal form {{sfrac|0|0}} which represented an early modern corruption of an Italian abbreviation of per cento.{{citation |last=Smith |first=D.E. |title=Rara Arithmetica |date=1898 }}.The separate encoding of the Unicode fraction slash is intended to permit automatic formatting of the preceding and succeeding digits by glyph substitution with numerator and denominator glyphs (e.g., display of {{not a typo|11⁄12}} as {{fraction|11|12}}),{{citation |title=The Unicode Standard, ver. 6.0 |p=192 |contribution=Writing Systems and Punctuation: General Punctuation: Fraction Slash |contribution-url= |date=2011 |isbn=978-1-936213-01-6 |editor=Julie D. Allen |display-editors=0 |ref={{harvid|Unicode|2011}} |publisher=Unicode Consortium }}. although this may not yet be supported in certain environments and fonts. By lack of support, some authors still use Unicode subscripts and superscripts to compose fractions, the more as in many popular fonts, these characters are repurposed as numerators and denominators. A number of common fractions—with their slashes—are specially encoded in Unicode, including {{not a typo|½}}, {{not a typo|⅓}}, {{not a typo|¼}}, and {{not a typo|⅛}}.This notation can also be used when the concept of fractions is extended from numbers to arbitrary rings by the method of localization of a ring.

{{anchor|division}} Division

The division slash {{angle brackets|∕}}, is used between two numbers to indicate division (e.g., 23÷43 can also be written as 23∕43). 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.{{citation |last=De Morgan |contribution=The Calculus of Functions |title=Encyclopaedia Metropolitana |date=1845 }}.

Quotient of set

A quotient of a set is informally a new set obtained by identifying some elements of the original set. This is denoted as a fraction S / R (sometimes even as a built fraction), where the numerator S is the original set (often equipped with some algebraic structure). What is appropriate as denominator depends on the context.In the most general case, the denominator is an equivalence relation sim on the original set S, and elements are to be identified in the quotient S/{sim} if they are equivalent according to sim; this is technically achieved by making S/{sim} the set of all equivalence classes of sim.In group theory, the slash is used to mark quotient groups. The general form is G/N , where G is the original group and N is the normal subgroup; this is read "G mod N", where "mod" is short for "modulo". Formally this is a special case of quotient by an equivalence relation, where g sim h iff g = hn for some n in N. Since many algebraic structures (rings, vector spaces, etc.) in particular are groups, the same style of quotients extend also to these, although the denominator may need to satisfy additional closure properties for the quotient to preserve the full algebraic structure of the original (e.g. for the quotient of a ring to be a ring, the denominator must be an ideal).When the original set is the set of integers mathbb{Z}, the denominator may alternatively be just an integer: mathbb{Z}/n. This is an alternative notation for the set mathbb{Z}_n of integers modulo n (needed because mathbb{Z}_n is also notation for the very different ring of n-adic integers). mathbb{Z}/n is an abbreviation of mathbb{Z}/nmathbb{Z} or mathbb{Z}/(n), which both are ways of writing the set in question as a quotient of groups.

Combining slash

Slashes may also be used as a combining character in mathematical formulae. The most important use of this is that combining a slash with a relation negates it, producing e.g. 'not equal' neq as negation of = or 'not in' notin as negation of in; these slashed relation symbols are always implicitly defined in terms of the non-slashed base symbol. The graphical form of the negation slash is mostly the same as for a division slash, except in some cases where that would look odd; the negation nmid of mid (divides) and negation nsim of sim (various meanings) customarily both have their negations slashes less steep and in particular shorter than the usual one.The Feynman slash notation is an unrelated use of combining slashes, mostly seen in quantum field theory. This kind of combining slash takes a vector base symbol and converts it to a matrix quantity. Technically this notation is a shorthand for contracting the vector with the Dirac gamma matrices, so A!!!/ = gamma^mu A_mu ; what one gains is not only a more compact formula, but also not having to allocate a letter as the contracted index.


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.

File paths

The slash is used as the path component separator in many computer operating systems (e.g., Unix's {{mono|pictures/image.png}}). In Unix and Unix-like systems, such as macOS and Linux, the slash is also used for the volume root directory (e.g., the initial slash in {{mono|/usr/john/pictures}}). Confusion of the slash with the backslash {{angle brackets|}} largely arises from the use of the latter as the path component separator in the widely used MS-DOS, Windows, and OS/2 systems.


The slash is used in a similar fashion in internet URLs (e.g., {{monoweblink}}). Often a portion of such URLs corresponds with files on a Unix server with the same name.The slash in an IP address (e.g., {{mono|}}) indicates the prefix size in CIDR notation. The number of addresses of a subnet may be calculated as 2address size − prefix size, in which the address size is 128 for IPv6 and 32 for IPv4. For example, in IPv4, the prefix size /29 gives: 232−29 = 23 = 8 addresses.


The slash is used as a division operator in most programming languages while APL uses it for reduction (fold) and compression (filter). The double slash is used by Rexx as a modulo operator, and Python (starting in version 2.2) uses a double slash for division which rounds (using floor) to an integer. In Perl 6 the double slash is used as a "defined-or" alternative to ||. A dot and slash {{angle brackets|./}} is used in MATLAB and GNU Octave to indicate an element-by-element division of matrices.Comments that begin with {{mono|/*}} (a slash and an asterisk) and end with {{mono|*/}} were introduced in PL/I and subsequently adopted by SAS, C, Rexx, C++, Java, JavaScript, PHP, CSS, and C#. A double slash {{mono|//}} is also used by C99, C++, C#, PHP, Java, and JavaScript to start a single line comment.In SGML and derived languages such as HTML and XML, a slash is used in closing tags. For example, in HTML, {{mono|
diagonal >#fraction>fraction slash.{{citation 1st ed. >contribution=diagonal, adj. and n. location=Oxford |publisher=Oxford University Press }}.
division slash >Unicode's formal name for the variant of the slash used to mark #division>division.
forward slash >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.{{citation >last=Turton contribution-url= title=PC Pro forward stroke (UK), foreslash, front slash, and frontslash. It is not unknown to even see such back-formations as reverse backslash.{{citation >contribution-url= accessdate=2 October 2014 url= deadurl=no weblink >archivedate=1 October 2014 fraction}}
fraction slash >Unicode's formal name for the low slash used to marking fraction (math)>fractions. Also sometimes known as the fraction bar, although this more properly refers to the horizontal bar. {{anchor|oblique}}
oblique >title=Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. adj., n., and adv. >date=2004 publisher=Oxford University Press }}. Also oblique stroke, oblique dash, &c. {{anchorscratch comma}}
scratch comma}} A modern name for the virgule's historic use as a form of comma.{{citation 1st ed. >contribution=scratch, n.¹ location=Oxford |publisher=Oxford University Press }}.
separatrix >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 strikethrough>struckthrough in proofed text{{citation 1st ed. >contribution=separatrix, n. location=Oxford contribution=separatrix accessdate=11 February 2016 url= archiveurl= df=dmy-all }}. Sometimes misapplied to #virgule. {{anchor>shilling}}
shilling mark >long S {{angle bracket>Å¿}} used as a currency symbol for the Decimal Day English shilling ().{{citation >title=Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. n. >date=1914 publisher=Oxford University Press }}. Also known as a shilling stroke.{{citation first=Richard author3=Charles M. Ellertson author5=Naomi B. Pascal display-authors=1 publisher=University of Chicago Press url= ref={{harvid1994}} p=93 archiveurl= df=dmy-all }}. Now obsolete except in historical contexts. {{anchorslants}}
slant >slants) in its use to mark pronunciations off from other text{{citation >title=Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. n.¹ >date=1911 publisher=Oxford University Press }}. and as the official ASCII name of the character.{{citation first=Eric S url= contribution=ASCII accessdate=24 July 2012 archiveurl= df=dmy-all }}. Also slant line(s) or bar(s).
slash mark >title=Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. n.¹ >date=1911 publisher=Oxford University Press }}.{{anchor|shilling}}
slat >esoteric programming language INTERCAL. Also slak.{{citation >last=Howe contribution=oblique stroke url= date=1996 deadurl=no weblink >archivedate=29 July 2012 |df=dmy-all }}.
solidus >#shilling>shilling mark (from the Latin form of its name), also applied to other slashes separating numbers or letters,{{citation 1st ed. >contribution=solidus, n.¹ location=Oxford International Standards Organization>ISO and Unicode Consortium{{citation >contribution-url= date=2015 title=Unicode archiveurl= df=dmy-all }}.{{citation contribution=Unicode 1.1 Composite Name List title=Unicode deadurl=no weblink >archivedate=25 September 2017 #fraction>fraction bar, the solidus is less vertical than a standard slash, generally close to 45° and kerning on both sides;BRINGHURST YEAR=2002 EDITION=3RD ISBN=978-0-88179-206-5 CONTRIBUTION=5.2.5: USE THE VIRGULE WITH WORDS AND DATES, THE SOLIDUS WITH SPLIT-LEVEL FRACTIONS POINT ROBERTS, WASHINGTON>POINT ROBERTS, this use is distinguished by Unicode as the #fraction. (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>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 >#oblique>oblique stroke popularized by its use in telegraphy.{{citation 1st ed. >contribution=stroke, n.¹ location=Oxford amateur radio enthusiasts employ the British "stroke". Less frequently, "stroke" is also used to refer to hyphens. {{anchor>virgule}}
virgule >virgula ("twig"),{{citation >title=Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. n. >date=1917 publisher=Oxford University Press }}. the original medieval Latin name of the character when it was used as a full stop, #scratch>scratch comma,{{citation 1st ed. >contribution=virgula, n. location=Oxford 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.{{citation >last=Klein contribution-url= title=Designorati accessdate=16 February 2016 }}. 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".{{citation |last=Hartman |first=Jed |contribution=A Slash by Any Other Name |contribution-url= |date=27 December 2011 |accessdate=15 February 2016 |url= |title=Neology |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=23 February 2016 |df=dmy-all }}.{{citation |contribution=slash |contribution-url= |url= |title=The Punctuation Guide |accessdate=11 February 2016 |deadurl=no |archiveurl= |archivedate=12 February 2016 |df=dmy-all }}

See also





External links

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