slash and backslash

I have seen people refer to / (and ) as either slash or backslash. I always assumed that / was backslash and \ was slash. Were these people making a mistake, or is there no authorative definition?

/ = slash
\ = backslash

I don’t know why, other than that “/” is probably older and hence is the ‘original’ slash.

\ = backslash as it leans backwards?
hmm…well it works for me!

The / was first and was used on typewriters for fractions. Typographers decided that .5 was 1/2 not 1\2.

The / is also called a “virgule”.
I remember some idiot saying ** must be called an “elugriv” (“virgule” spelled backwards). I’m glad “slash” and “backslash” caught on instead.

They teach us top to bottom right to left then dump this into our laps? I don’t Know how we all made it through english whithout pulling out our Knives.

err left to right, really it would have been funnier without this.

Programmers have had slang terms for punctuation characters for years. When the need arises, it’s so much easier to just say “dot bang splat”. My favorite are the left and right braces, ‘{’ and ‘}’, as ‘embrace’ and ‘bracelet’.

Huh? “dot bang splat”?

Anyone ever hear that comedian who reads prose and pronounces all the punctuation?


This subject <'s. Shut up or I’ll # you with a !

I remember writing a utility program once that involved parsing syntax marked by backticks. In keeping with the flavor of typical UNIX “E_” error messages, I had it inform you of a missing closing backtick with:

E_LIVINGDEAD: open grave.

Well, I thought it was amusing, anyway.

dot bang splat = . ! *

written = .!*
spoken (by a non-hacker) = period, exclamation point, asterisk
spoken (by a hacker) = dot bang splat

  • is usually called star, as in ., star dot star.

Star dot star? Tampa, RobotArm was talking about hackers, not folks who use Microsquish.:wink:

My personal favorites are “wax” and “wane” for ( and ). It sure beats “open parenthesis” and “close parenthesis”

By the way, yabob, what pronounciation were you using for < in that sentence? I know that as either “Less than”, “bra”, or “open angle bracket”.

Well of course in the interest of clarity (Ha!) programmers of various camps have come up with a dizzying array of names for our friendly little punctuation marks. ‘Embrace’, ‘bracelet’, ‘wax’, ‘wane’ and ‘splat’ (along with ‘mesh’, ‘worm’, ‘sqiggle’ and a host of others) were devised by the inventors of INTERCAL, about which the less said the better.

Yes, exactly. With a regular slash (/) the stuff on the top is the same as the stuff on the left, and so it unambiguously precedes the stuff on the bottom and right.

It works for me. Tell me something. A fraction like “one-half” can be easily written on a couple of lines like:



Now, if you wanted to put it on a single line, which would make more sense: 1/2 or 1\2 ? Seems like a no-brainer to me!

What’s wrong with Intercal, Robot Arm? Do you prefer Befunge? :wink:

Using “wax” and “wane” was the biggest mistake in Intercal-speak–it makes too much sense!

We call it “angle bracket” in the world of mark-up languages like HTML and XML.

What’s wrong with INTERCAL!? First off, it should be capitalized, since it’s an acronym. INTERCAL stands for “Computer Language With No Pronouncable Acronym”, and it goes downhill fast from there.

The New Hacker’s Dictionary gives these names for the <> pair (“l/r” stands for “left/right”).

less/greater than
l/r angle
l/r angle bracket
l/r broket
read from/write to
angle/right angle