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

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For example, in 2016, as soon as Collins, the English dictionary, exit its “words of the year list,” the list included the adhering to words:


JOMO is an acronym that stands for the “Joy Of lacking Out,” and also it follows in the footsteps of other recent classics such together YOLO and also FOMO.

Basically, JOMO describes the satisfied one feels when they pass up top top plans v others.


A catchy name for “Britain’s Exit” the end of the european Union, Brexit has come to be such a fashionable word over the past few years the it pops increase in nearly every conversation about politics these days.

This propensity towards much shorter words can likewise be discovered in what we write simply as lot as that does in what us say. For instance, /s is wonderful case in point: that is a term that can pertained to abbreviate several various other words.


What walk /s mean?

Even despite /s is used way more in creating that it is supplied in speech, it has pertained to have a few meanings. The is used to represent sarcasm within digital communities, particularly on Reddit forums and other online blog post boards. Because that the physicists and scientists the end there, /s is a mathematics notation that means per second. The hatchet is additionally used in HTML coding to strike with a certain portion of text. And, one archaic use that /s is to describe a signature as soon as quoting documents.

/s and sarcasm

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

And the only way to tell the distinction is contextual, definition it counts on, amongst many other things, our previous understanding of the human being speaking, how the human said the sentence including their tone of voice, what was said before in the conversation, and where the conversation is being held.

However, this is the internet, where most things space devoid of context, an individual doesn’t know 90 percent that the other human being they are communicating with, and an excellent luck to anyone trying to discern someone else’s tone of voice together they create something down.

To make matters worse, human being used to it is in happy relying on 140 personalities to send every other fully formed principles in the type of tweets (Mind you, once speaking around characters, we room talking about letters and also spaces, not words.

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

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

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

For example, it wake up quite frequently that someone states something sarcastically, just to be dubbed out through someone that didn’t acquire the joke. This is wherein /s come in.

In bespeak to prevent these disagreements, human being online placed /s, likewise known together the sarcasm switch, at the finish of their sentences come signal the they to be being sarcastic about what they had just said.

Here are a pair of examples:

Professor James is my favorite professor; the male knows his stuff. /S

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

Other cases similar to /s

It is precious noting that making use of a slash and a letter come contextualize a sentence or even an entire paragraph isn’t an diverted incident; the internet has been using this trick because that a while.

In fact, utilizing a slash complied with by a qualifier offers context for every little thing that’s been said prior to it. Because that example, if I use /rant after ~ a lengthy paragraph, I’m letting the readers know two things:

Everything prior to the “/rant” to be me ranting and venting around something bothering and that I required to get off mine chest.I am currently done with my rant.

As a issue of fact, /s started out together a slash adhered to by the qualifier-descriptor “sarcasm.” that wasn’t until means later that /sarcasm gained shortened come /s.

What room the origins of /s?

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

In fact, everything you check out on this page, including the post you are reading right now has actually been created using HTML.

In HTML, whenever you desire to give the internet browser an order, you usage angle brackets to create tags, i beg your pardon look prefer this: “”.

What happens is that these tags let the browser know how to display screen a certain page. The sign can style the text, produce hyperlinks, insert tables and also images and do lot more.

Tags come in pairs. Because that every “” in ~ the start of a text, there has to be a “” at the finish of the text. Here is a simple example:

Let’s say I want to allow the web browser know that ns was around to compose a new sub-heading, for this reason I’ll usage the “h4” heading tags.

New sub-heading:

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

New sub-heading:

So, why does any of this matter?

Well, this is just how /s started. In ~ the an extremely beginning, one individual who wanted to be sarcastic would certainly start and also end their statement with sarcastic quotes. It would certainly look something choose this:

A sarcastic statement the no one need to take literally.

The sarcasm sign were supposed to look at exactly similar to the various other tags used with HTML.

The only distinction was that quite than being supposed for the browser, these tags to be targeted at the actual people reading the text in the really hopes of stopping them from obtaining the not correct idea.

However, v time, these tags obtained shortened native … to ….

After a tiny while, the initial tag was dropped, leaving just at the end of sarcastic statements.

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

/s in HTML

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

These room tags the are used to let the internet browser strike through a specific piece the text, indicating that was written was no longer correct.

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

I support the so and so community.

A few years later, our blogger has had actually a change of heart, and also they no longer support the previously mentioned community.

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

So, rather of deleting what they had actually said a couple of years earlier, they decide to save it however strike through it simply to present that the is no longer true.

So, they would write:

I assistance the so and so community.,

And it would certainly look something prefer this:

I assistance the so and so community.

/s in the sciences

Physicists favor to measure and also compare different quantities.

For example, physicists define speed together measuring the distance a human body covers over a specific period of time.

If the unit that measuring distance were meter and the unit because that time were second, climate a physicist would be questioning themselves how plenty of meters does this human body cover every second?

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

In fact, /s method per 2nd and can be supplied in any kind of context in which time is a factor.

Here space a pair of much more examples:

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

The dimension of angular speed is rad/s, which means radian per second.

/s in quoting documents

Now, this one is a little bit old, yet a while back, once quoting a document, one “s” between two slashes was used to show 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 at the finish of the letter, us wrote:



Chandler Bing, the procurements manager

Seeing the “/s/” at the end means that Chandler Bing’s hand-written signature was at the bottom the the original file right after words “Sincerely.”

/s: wrapping it all up

Language it is adapted to the times, and also today’s virtual conversations call for a means to add some context, i beg your pardon is whereby conversation tags choose the sarcasm switch, /s, come in handy.

What was additionally fascinating was to see just how this tag, favor several other words, obtained shortened v time and went from two tags come a single slash adhered to by a solitary letter.

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

See more: Meaning Of Be Barking Up The Wrong Tree Meaning & Examples), Bark Up The Wrong Tree

It was also enjoyable come see exactly how the exact same expression can play completely different functions in an old practice, quoting documents, and also in a new one, creating HTML code.