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What is an oblique symbol?

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Quick Answer

The forward slash is also referred to as the oblique symbol. It is commonly used for writing fractions as well as separating letters and words.

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The oblique symbol is often referred to as a slash or, more specifically, as a forward slash. This is to distinguish it from the not-as-common backward slash, The oblique symbol is widely used in fractions, such as 2/3 or 5/6. There are many other uses, however, in which it comes into play.

The slash is used in English text as a substitute for the word "or." For example, male/female or y/n. It can also indicate a line break when quoting poetry, such as "Mary had a little lamb / its fleece was white as snow." Sometimes, the oblique replaces a hyphen or dash to denote a strong joint between words as in "the Hemingway/Faulkner generation.

Abbreviations make use of the oblique symbol as well, for example "w/e" is short for "whatever" and "i/o" stands for "input/output."

A proofreader often uses the slash mark to separate out his editing thoughts written in the margins of the paper. When used in this manner, the oblique is referred to as a separatrix.

The slash mark is used in computing as a path component separator, URL addresses and in some chat clients.

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