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“Any hack without slashes is a talentless hack

~ Barack Obama on having rehydrated too fitfully

The slash character (/) has served a vital role in the development of the data processing industry. Slash has a vital role in constructions like "and/or" (which means and, and/or or). Like letters, slash can be capitalized. The uppercase form of slash is: /


The TeleType was a device invented to let newsrooms render witnesses in courtrooms with ASCII art, before the invention of the fax.

In the early days of computers, soon after the slash appeared on the keyboard of the TeleType (pictured), it used to take two of them to get anything done, such as on punched cards with // JOB and/or // XEQ.

Then video terminals were invented, and slash got more efficient. Most of the time spent on video terminals was to create graphics. Although much more efficient than doing so on a typewriter, it was not efficient.

The American National Standards Institute came to the rescue. After two years of deliberations, it decided that what was missing was a slash in the opposite direction (the backslash); also a vertical bar. Now the artist had everything he needed to create high-quality low-quality graphics (except the graphics).

Shortly after, Bill Gates gave up his pastime of hacking to become a legitimate software writer. But his penchant for pranks lived on as his MS-DOS used the backslash instead of the slash. "Just to be different." (He would go on to put clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades in the character set, ensuring that the personal computer would be able to perform any relevant use.) The rest of the computer industry, meanwhile, sensibly used the regular slash, just as it sensibly counted everything starting at 0.

Writing software that converts slash to backslash and back again drives the modern American economy, and accounts for salaries equal to the entire gross domestic product of the state of Louisiana.

Modern uses[edit]

This illustration is used in lieu of urine, for two good reasons reflecting both the start and the end of the experience.

A slash is a colloquialism for a stream of urine (not pictured), as it is preferable to learning words like "micturition." For example, a person with the clap might say: "Excuse me, I have to go outdoors and slash and burn."

Fans of other forms of swordplay use the word "slash" to refer to a popular offensive move with the weapon.

Hackers regularly use the slash when preparing hacks. Hack and slash, slash and hack. The hash mark, #, is a labor-saving device.

Slasher movies, however, use neither slash, backslash, nor hash, because they have actual graphics.

A sharp / is a surprisingly powerful weapon, particularly effective when making a hacking motion. In 1337, @ used a Magical / of Lightning to kill arch-nemesis &, who was armed with a flaming \. He managed to recapture the $ and * that & had stolen, with his health (as pronounced by doctors) halfway intact. Said @ later, “Had I chosen to use my | or , I should now be dead. Even my would barely have gotten me out alive. But a few strokes of my trusty / dispatched that awful & before he could do any serious damage! It was pwnage.”