A virgule is also known as a “forward slash,” although a “backslash” would fall under the same definition.

In technical writing, it is used to distinguish between two choices as a replacement for a hyphen, between “and” and “or” to signify one or both is a possibility, or two show that a certain object is composed of two seperate objects:

One would want to use a SCSI/Firewire cord.

With this order, you get sausage and/or toast.

Have you tried making music with Max/MSP?

In more proper writing one would replace the above with these:

One would use a SCSI or Firewire cord.

With this order, you get sausage, toast, or both.

(Max/MSP is a brandname and isn't changed)

The only time one uses a virgule in proper writing is as a line break for poetry that appears within prose:

The turkey shot out of the oven / And rocketed into the air.

Vir"gule (?), n. [F. virgule, fr. L. virgula, dim. of virga. See Verge a rod.]

A comma.


In the MSS. of Chaucer, the line is always broken by a caesura in the middle, which is pointed by a virgule. Hallam.


© Webster 1913.

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