Long words have actually a propensity to get shorter with time, and also with today’s society media crazed world, shorter words and acronyms room making their way into the English language every day.

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For example, in 2016, when Collins, the English dictionary, exit its “words that the year list,” the list consisted of the following words:


JOMO is one acronym that represents the “Joy Of missing Out,” and also it follows in the footsteps of various other recent standards such as YOLO and also FOMO.

Basically, JOMO refers to the satisfied one feels as soon as they happen up on plans v others.


A catchy surname for “Britain’s Exit” out of the europe Union, Brexit has become such a stylish word end the past couple of years the it pops increase in nearly every conversation about politics this days.

This propensity towards shorter words can additionally be found in what we write just as much as the does in what us say. Because that instance, /s is wonderful case in point: the is a term the can concerned abbreviate several various other words.


What walk /s mean?

Even though /s is used way more in creating that the is provided in speech, it has pertained to have a couple of meanings. It is used to denote sarcasm within virtual communities, particularly on Reddit forums and also other online blog post boards. For the physicists and scientists out there, /s is a math notation that method per second. The ax is additionally used in HTML coding to strike through a certain part of text. And, one archaic use that /s is to refer to a signature when quoting documents.

/s and sarcasm

Sarcasm is a subtle art, one that easily goes end the head the a most people. The thing with sarcasm is that civilization may be unsure even if it is the person speaking actually means what they speak or castle are simply being sarcastic.

And the only way to tell the distinction is contextual, an interpretation it counts on, amongst many various other things, ours previous knowledge of the human being speaking, how the person said the sentence including their tone of voice, what to be said before in the conversation, and where the conversation is gift held.

However, this is the internet, where most things space devoid of context, an separation, personal, instance doesn’t know 90 percent of the other world they are communicating with, and great luck come anyone trying come discern who else’s tone of voice as they write something down.

To make matters worse, civilization used to it is in happy relying on 140 personalities to send each other totally formed ideas in the type of tweets (Mind you, as soon as speaking about characters, we room talking around letters and spaces, no words.

The words in between these brackets alone make up 246 characters, without counting the brackets. Imagine see this sentence however having no context because that it.)

Thank God Twitter raised the allowable number of characters from 140 to 280. /s

As a result of this absence of context, it yes, really isn’t difficult to imagine all the misunderstandings and also disagreements the fester.

For example, it happens quite frequently that someone says something sarcastically, only to be called out by someone who didn’t acquire the joke. This is wherein /s comes in.

In order to prevent these disagreements, people online put /s, additionally known together the sarcasm switch, in ~ the end of your sentences to signal the they were being sarcastic about what they had actually just said.

Here are a couple of examples:

Professor James is my favourite professor; the guy knows his stuff. /S

Me: just how much will repairing the laptop cost?Technician: You’re looking at 250 bucks.Me: five great, your prices space so cheap the they’re nearly a steal. /s

Other cases comparable to /s

It is worth noting that using a slash and also a letter come contextualize a sentence or even an entire paragraph isn’t an isolated incident; the internet has actually been using this trick because that a while.

In fact, making use of a slash adhered to by a qualifier gives context for everything that’s been said prior to it. For example, if I usage /rant after ~ a lengthy paragraph, I’m letting the readers understand two things:

Everything prior to the “/rant” to be me ranting and also venting about something bothering and also that I required to acquire off my chest.I am currently done v my rant.

As a matter of fact, /s began out as a slash followed by the qualifier-descriptor “sarcasm.” it wasn’t until way later that /sarcasm gained shortened come /s.

What space the origins of /s?

Of every places, /s obtained its begin in HTML, which represents HyperText Markup Language and also is the simple coding language supplied to strength the internet.

In fact, whatever you view on this page, consisting of the article you are reading right now has actually been created using HTML.

In HTML, whenever you want to provide the web browser an order, you use angle base to produce tags, i beg your pardon look choose this: “”.

What wake up is that these tags permit the web browser know how to display a certain page. The tags can format the text, create hyperlinks, insert tables and images and also do much more.

Tags come in pairs. For every “” at the beginning of a text, there needs to be a “” in ~ the finish of the text. Below is a an easy example:

Let’s to speak I wanted to allow the web browser know that ns was about to create a new sub-heading, for this reason I’ll usage the “h4” heading tags.

New sub-heading:

When the web browser sees the above sentence, it will analyze the tags as signifying that this is a new heading and also should it is in formatted together such. The last rendering would look like this:

New sub-heading:

So, why does any kind of of this matter?

Well, this is exactly how /s started. In ~ the an extremely beginning, one individual who wanted to it is in sarcastic would start and end your statement with sarcastic quotes. It would certainly look something favor this:

A sarcastic statement the no one should take literally.

The sarcasm tag were supposed to watch exactly comparable to the other tags provided with HTML.

The only distinction was that rather than being intended for the browser, this tags were targeted at the actual human being reading the text in the hopes of protecting against them from acquiring the not correct idea.

However, with time, this tags gained shortened native … to ….

After a small while, the early stage tag was dropped, leaving just at the finish of sarcastic statements.

Fast forward a bit and even the edge brackets top top that second tag to be tossed, leaving us v /s only. And, that is exactly how we finished up through /s denoting sarcasm.

/s in HTML

The funny thing is that … is actually provided in HTML coding and also not because that sarcasm.

These are tags the are supplied to allow the browser strike through a details piece the text, indicating the was written was no much longer correct.

For instance, if someone had one composed on your blog:

I assistance the so and so community.

A few years later, ours blogger has had a change of heart, and they no longer support the aforementioned community.

They desire to let the be known that lock have adjusted their opinions, however they perform not want to hide their previously position.

So, instead of deleting what they had said a few years earlier, they decide to store it but strike v it just to present that the is no much longer true.

So, they would write:

I assistance the so and also so community.,

And it would certainly look something choose this:

I support the so and also so community.

/s in the sciences

Physicists like to measure and compare various quantities.

For example, physicists specify speed as measuring the street a body covers end a specific period of time.

If the unit the measuring street were meter and the unit for time to be second, climate a physicist would be questioning themselves how many meters does this human body cover every second?

In mathematics notation, it would be created as “m/s.”

In fact, /s method per second and can be used in any context in i m sorry time is a factor.

Here space a couple of much more examples:

The dimension of strength is J/s, which represents Joule every second.

The measurement of angular rate is rad/s, which represents radian per second.

/s in quoting documents

Now, this one is a little old, however a if back, once quoting a document, one “s” in between two slashes was supplied to suggest a hand-written signature and also was put at the closeup of the door of the document.

For example, let’s say us were quoting an old letter, and also at the finish of the letter, us wrote:



Chandler Bing, the procurements manager

Seeing the “/s/” at the end method that Chandler Bing’s hand-written signature was at the bottom of the original record right after the word “Sincerely.”

/s: pack it all up

Language it is adapted to the times, and also today’s digital conversations need a way to include some context, which is wherein conversation tags choose the sarcasm switch, /s, come in handy.

What was additionally fascinating was to see how this tag, choose several other words, acquired shortened through time and went from two tags come a single slash complied with by a single letter.

This action of truncation wasn’t minimal to online conversations; physicists usage it to present physical quantities.

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It was also enjoyable come see how the exact same expression have the right to play fully different functions in one old practice, quoting documents, and in a brand-new one, creating HTML code.