The Meaning of W/: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know what the definition of w/ is? This article will provide you with all of the info you need on the internet slang term w/ including its meaning, usage, synonyms, sentence examples, and more!

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What does the abbreviation w/ mean?

According to Dictionary, on its own, the letter w can be an acronym for a great many things. It is the twenty-third letter of the English alphabet and the 18th consonant of the modern English alphabet. The representation of the letter w can stand for anything from wattage, to wicket, to wins, especially with the plural w, to someone’s middle name, as in George W/ Bush. However, when someone uses w next to a slash, this almost always means “with.”

Nowadays, people see the abbreviations w/ and w/o everywhere in place of the terms with and without. People can use these in text messaging, on social media, or in casual emails. However, this abbreviation is still considered very informal, so people should avoid using it in more formal and professional contexts like business emails or letters and stick to the full form of the word in these scenarios. 

How can the abbreviation w/ be used in a sentence?

The abbreviation w/ can be used in an innumerable amount of sentences when text messaging, sending a casual email, or typing to a friend on social media. In this first example, the abbreviation w/ will be used in a texting conversation between two friends. Here, Mark and Tommy are friends from school who are texting over winter break. 

Mark: Hey dude! Happy Hanukkah! HRU!

Tommy: I’m good! I’m w/ my family in New York, HBU?

Mark: I’m doing really well. So happy they didn’t assign us a ton of HW over break. How’s NYC?

Tommy: Really great. I wish it wasn’t so cold so we could do some more stuff, but it’s nice to spend time w/ my grandma. PLus the California weather will feel so nice when we get back. 

Mark: LOL, absolutely!

Here, Tommy uses the abbreviation w/ to tell Mark that he is with his grandmother and family in New York City. In this next example, the word w/ will be used in text messaging as well. Here, Mark is back at school but Tommy is snowed in in New York.

Mark: Dude, you’re not gonna believe it.

Tommy: What? What happened?

Mark: Ms. Rooter is w/ child.

Tommy: Whoa, no way! I thought her youngest kid was like our age?

Mark: He is! He’s on my basketball team!

Tommy: That’s crazy. Well, looks like her son is not gonna be the baby for long.

Mark: You got that right.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word with?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the abbreviation w/. These are known as synonyms. Synonyms are different words or phrases that have the same meaning as another given word or phrase. In this case, one might choose to use a synonym if they are writing something in which it would be inappropriate to use a slang term like w/. This list of synonyms for w/ is provided by Thesaurus

  • plus
  • alongside
  • along
  • upon
  • accompanying
  • among
  • by
  • near
  • including
  • amidst
  • for
  • with
  • beside

If someone wished to use a word that was the opposite of the abbreviation w/, they would use an antonym. An antonym is any word or phrase that means the opposite definition of another word or phrase. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus

  • defective
  • missing
  • deprived of
  • lacking
  • coming up short
  • flawed
  • devoid
  • not making it
  • needed
  • sans
  • without
  • needing
  • not hacking it
  • incomplete
  • impaired
  • inadequate
  • can’t cut it
  • minus
  • short

What is the etymology of the word with?

According to Cyber Definitions, the abbreviation w/ to mean with has been used since the rise of the fast food industry in the 1950s. Here, waitresses began using the abbreviation w/ to save time. They also replaced the word “without” with “w/o” to save time. This way, instead of having to write “One hamburger with extra pickles, and one cheeseburger without ketchup,” the notepad that they hand the line cook might read “1 ham w/ x pickles, 1 chz w/o ketchup.” This sped up the process and allowed the waitresses and cooks to deliver food to hungry customers much faster.

According to Etymonline, the preposition with comes from the Old English wið which means against, opposite, from, toward, by, or near. This was a shortened form of the word wiðer, which came from the Proto-Germanic prefix withro-, meaning against. The sense of the word with shiftern during Middle English to mean an association or combination. This was influenced by the Old Norse word vidh and possible from the Latin word cum, that also meant “with.” This is also a similar meaning to the Old English prefix mid-, which also means with, such as in the word midwife being a person who is literally with the wife during childbirth. The only original sense of the word with meaning against or in opposition to are seen in compound words like withstand, withdraw, or withhold.

Overall, the trending English language slang term w/ means “with.” While the letter w, the 23rd letter of the English alphabet, on its own can stand for many other different things, if someone sees the letter w next to a slash, this most often means “with.” This abbreviation is commonly used in text messaging or on social media, and is sometimes seen in emails or when people are jotting things down shorthand. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.cyberdefinitions.com/definitions/W_forward_slash.html#:~:text=W%2F%20means%20%22With%22.,or%20%22along%20with%22).
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/w
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/with
  4. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/with
  5. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/sans?s=t