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

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


JOMO is an acronym that stands for the “Joy Of missing Out,” and also it complies with in the footsteps of various other recent standards such together YOLO and FOMO.

Basically, JOMO describes the pleasure one feels as soon as they pass up top top plans with others.


A catchy name for “Britain’s Exit” out of the europe Union, Brexit has become such a stylish word over the past couple of years that it pops increase in practically every conversation around politics these days.

This propensity towards much shorter words can also be uncovered in what us write simply as lot as that does in what us say. For instance, /s is great case in point: it is a term the can come to abbreviate several various other words.


What go /s mean?

Even despite /s is used means more in creating that the is provided in speech, the has come to have a few meanings. That is used to represent sarcasm within virtual communities, especially on Reddit forums and also other online article boards. Because that the physicists and also scientists the end there, /s is a mathematical notation that method per second. The term is additionally used in HTML coding to strike v a certain section of text. And, one archaic use the /s is to describe a signature as soon as quoting documents.

/s and sarcasm

Sarcasm is a ethereal art, one that quickly goes end the head that a lot of people. The point with sarcasm is that world may be unsure whether the person speaking actually way what they to speak or they are simply being sarcastic.

And the only way to tell the distinction is contextual, meaning it depends on, among many other things, ours previous understanding of the person speaking, how the human being said the sentence consisting of their ton of voice, what was said before in the conversation, and also where the conversation is being held.

However, this is the internet, where many things are devoid of context, an separation, personal, instance doesn’t understand 90 percent that the other civilization they are communicating with, and great luck to anyone trying come discern someone else’s tone of voice as they create something down.

To do matters worse, people used to be happy relying ~ above 140 characters to send each other completely formed principles in the type of tweets (Mind you, when speaking around characters, we space talking around letters and spaces, no words.

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

Thank God Twitter raised the allowable variety of characters native 140 to 280. /s

As a an outcome of this absence of context, it really isn’t complicated to imagine all the misunderstandings and disagreements the fester.

For example, it wake up quite frequently that someone states something sarcastically, only to be referred to as out by someone that didn’t acquire the joke. This is wherein /s comes in.

In bespeak to prevent these disagreements, civilization online placed /s, additionally known as the sarcasm switch, in ~ the end of their sentences come signal the they were being sarcastic around what they had actually just said.

Here space a couple of examples:

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

Me: how much will certainly repairing the laptop cost?Technician: You’re looking in ~ 250 bucks.Me: oh great, her prices are so cheap that they’re almost a steal. /s

Other cases similar to /s

It is worth noting that making use of a slash and also a letter to contextualize a sentence or even whole paragraph isn’t an secluded incident; the internet has actually been using this trick because that a while.

In fact, utilizing a slash adhered to by a qualifier offers context for whatever that’s to be said prior to it. Because that example, if I usage /rant after ~ a lengthy paragraph, I’m letting the readers know two things:

Everything before the “/rant” to be me ranting and venting around something bothering and also that I required to obtain off my chest.I am now done with my rant.

As a matter of fact, /s began out as a slash complied with by the qualifier-descriptor “sarcasm.” the wasn’t until way later the /sarcasm got shortened to /s.

What are the origins of /s?

Of all places, /s got its begin in HTML, which means HyperText Markup Language and is the basic coding language offered to strength the internet.

In fact, whatever you watch on this page, including the write-up you are reading right now has actually been produced using HTML.

In HTML, at any time you desire to give the web browser an order, you usage angle brackets to create tags, i m sorry look like this: “”.

What happens is that these tags permit the browser know just how to display a specific page. The tag can layout the text, create hyperlinks, insert tables and images and also do lot more.

Tags come in pairs. Because that every “” at the start of a text, there needs to be a “” at the finish of the text. Right here is a basic example:

Let’s to speak I want to allow the internet browser know that ns was around to write a new sub-heading, therefore I’ll use the “h4” heading tags.

New sub-heading:

When the internet browser sees the over sentence, the will analyze the tags as signifying that this is a brand-new heading and also should be formatted together such. The last rendering would look prefer this:

New sub-heading:

So, why does any type of of this matter?

Well, this is how /s started. At the an extremely beginning, an individual who wanted to it is in sarcastic would start and also end their statement v sarcastic quotes. It would look something like this:

A sarcastic statement that no one have to take literally.

The sarcasm tag were an alleged to look exactly comparable to the other tags supplied with HTML.

The only distinction was that fairly than being intended for the browser, this tags to be targeted at the actual world reading the text in the wishes of protecting against them from obtaining the dorn idea.

However, with time, these tags got shortened indigenous … to ….

After a small while, the initial tag to be dropped, leaving just at the finish of sarcastic statements.

Fast front a bit and also even the angle brackets on that 2nd tag to be tossed, leave us v /s only. And, the is how we finished up v /s denoting sarcasm.

/s in HTML

The funny thing is that … is actually used in HTML coding and not for sarcasm.

These room tags the are provided to let the web browser strike v a details piece the text, indicating that was created was no much longer correct.

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

I assistance the so and so community.

A few years later, our blogger has had a adjust of heart, and they no much longer support the abovementioned community.

They desire to let the be known that they have changed their opinions, but they perform not desire to hide their earlier position.

So, rather of deleting what they had actually said a couple of years earlier, they decide to keep it yet strike through it just to show that it is no longer true.

So, they would write:

I support the so and so community.,

And it would look something choose this:

I assistance the so and also so community.

/s in the sciences

Physicists favor to measure and also compare various quantities.

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

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

In mathematical notation, it would certainly be composed as “m/s.”

In fact, /s way per second and can be offered in any kind of context in i m sorry time is a factor.

Here room a couple of more examples:

The dimension of power is J/s, which stands for Joule per second.

The dimension of angular speed is rad/s, which represents radian every second.

/s in quoting documents

Now, this one is a little old, but a when back, when quoting a document, one “s” in between two slashes was offered to suggest a hand-written signature and also was placed at the closeup of the door of the document.

For example, let’s say we were quoting one old letter, and also at the end of the letter, we wrote:



Chandler Bing, it procurements manager

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

/s: pack it all up

Language adapts to the times, and today’s digital conversations need a way to include some context, i beg your pardon is whereby conversation tags choose the sarcasm switch, /s, come in handy.

What was likewise fascinating was to see just how this tag, choose several other words, obtained shortened with time and went from two tags come a solitary slash followed by a solitary letter.

This act of truncation wasn’t limited to digital conversations; physicists use it to display physical quantities.

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It was likewise enjoyable to see how the very same expression deserve to play completely different roles in an old practice, quoting documents, and also in a brand-new one, writing HTML code.