from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Printing A diagonal mark ( / ) used especially to separate alternatives, as in and/or, to represent the word per, as in miles/hour, and to indicate the ends of verse lines printed continuously, as in Old King Cole/Was a merry old soul.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The diagonal slash character - /, used to separate parts of text, and to represent the word per in expressions such as feet/second.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A comma.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A little rod; a twig.
  • n. A Comma. Hallam, Lit. Hist, of Europe, i. 8

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information


French, comma, obelus, from Late Latin virgula, accentual mark, from Latin, obelus, diminutive of virga, rod.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin virgula, diminutive of virga ("rod, branch"). (Wiktionary)



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  • In golf there is a particularly painful class of failed putt that the French call a "virgule." This is when the ball rolls around half the circumference of the cup and then continues a short distance on the far side of the hole. The shape that is described by this progress is that of a comma or, in French, virgule. Play golf with French speakers and you will hear this word uttered with the passion of blasphemy.

    Golf can be mockingly cruel
    And putting a torturer's tool.
    The impudent ball
    Won't drop in at all
    But shapes what the French call virgule.

    September 24, 2014

  • Typography has many tools
    But it's hard to remember the rules:
    What meaning attaches
    To dots and to dashes
    And where do you put the virgules?

    September 24, 2014

  • The so-called forward slash or stroke. Also solidus.

    February 23, 2007