W/ Meaning: Shorthand & Slang Usage, History & More (2024)

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Your guide to using “W/,” “W/O,” “W.” & “W” like a pro

Co-authored byCandace Gasperand Dan Hickey

Last Updated: March 20, 2024Fact Checked

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  • Meaning of “W/” or “W”
  • |
  • Alternate Meaning of “W”
  • |
  • |
  • Origins of “W/”
  • |
  • Tips

Hold on, isn’t a slash supposed to go between two letters or words? What makes “W/” different? A slash with nothing after it might look bizarre, but when it comes after “W,” you actually get an abbreviation for one of the most common words ever. In this article, we’ll show you what “W/” means (with the slash or without), plus the fascinating history of where that abbreviation came from. Let’s get on w/ it!

Things You Should Know

  • “W/” is an abbreviation for “with.” It appears over text, on social media, in handwritten notes, or even in casual communications at work like Slack messages.
  • A “W” without a slash can mean either “with” or “win.” If it means “win,” you’ll probably see it by itself or in the context of a celebratory message.
  • Use “W/” in texts, notes, tweets, recipes—you name it! Steer clear of it in formal or important professional writing, though, and just write out “with.”

Section 1 of 4:

Meaning of “W/” or “W”

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  1. “W/” is shorthand for “with” online or on paper. Even though “with” is already a short word, “W/” is still faster to write by hand and uses fewer characters when it’s typed out. It can be capitalized or lowercase (“w/”), and can appear without a slash (“w”) or with a period instead (“w.”).[1] “W/” shows up in informal writing like text messages, social media, handwritten notes or instructions, recipes, apartment listings, or even casual Slack messages and emails at work.[2]

    • “For rent: Renovated 1-bed apartment w/ great view of downtown”
    • “Chop 1 potato w/ skin on”
    • “Let’s ride w David since he’s leaving earlier.”
    • “I’m on my way to the store w. Karen”
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Section 2 of 4:

Alternate Meaning of “W”

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  1. “W” (without a slash) can mean “win” or “winning” over text or online. If you see a plain “W” by itself or as part of a celebratory sentence in a text or on an app like TikTok or Twitter, chances are the user means “win” or “winning.”[3] This meaning comes up almost exclusively online (although you might hear someone say something like “We got the ‘dub!” out loud, where “‘dub” is a shortening of “double-u”). Similarly, you might see “L” as shorthand for “loss” or “losing.”[4]

    • “I got a promotion today! 🎉 Can I get a W in the group chat!?”
    • “Cubs get the W!”
    • Person A: “I got my driver’s license!”
      Person B: “W!”

Section 3 of 4:

Using “W/” & “W”

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  1. 1

    Type or write “W/” in place of “with” in informal communications. Use “W/” any time you’d use “with” in a sentence (it’s that flexible!). Type it when you’re posting on social media, texting, writing quick notes during class or a meeting, or leaving instructions for your dog sitter. Only abbreviate “with” in casual messages, though—it’s best to avoid it in formal or professional writing and use the full word “with.”[5]

    • “Let’s go on a walk w/ Richard today!”
    • “Give my puppy her vitamin w/ dinner when you watch her”
  2. 2

    Use “W/O” to mean “without.” Add an “O” after the slash in “W/” to form the abbreviation for “without” and use “w/o” the same way you’d use “w/.” Throw it in casual texts or messages, tweets or other social media posts, notes, instructions, or any other scenario where you need to save some space or characters.[6]

    • “Are you ordering food? Get me a hotdog w/o ketchup please!”
    • “Hurry up or we’re leaving w/o you!”
  3. 3

    Throw a “W” in the chat to celebrate a win over text or online. Reply to someone’s text with “W” or leave a “W” comment on a tweet or TikTok video to congratulate others. Post “W” by itself to use it as an exclamation (“Winning!”) or use it as part of a full sentence (“The Bears take the W!”). Try using some emojis to keep things fun and celebratory![7]

    • “Nice job at your track meet today. Congrats on your W!”
    • Them: “Here’s a pic of my outfit for the awards show!”
      You: “W!”
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Section 4 of 4:

Origins of “W/”

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  1. “W/” probably came from handwritten fast food orders in the 1950s. As speed became more important for restaurant workers, servers began using shorthand to take orders by hand. “W/” and “W/O” were quick and easy to understand ways to say “with” and “without” when customers wanted to customize their meals by adding or taking off ingredients.[8] Handwritten orders might say something like:[9]

    • “1 burger w/o cheese”
    • “Cobb salad w/ extra dressing”

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      • As a rule of thumb, use the full version of “with” whenever possible in formal or professional writing. Abbreviations are best used in casual writing, tables and graphs, or notes to yourself.


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      About This Article

      W/ Meaning: Shorthand & Slang Usage, History & More (28)

      Co-authored by:

      Candace Gasper

      Social Media & Digital Marketing Consultant

      This article was co-authored by Candace Gasper and by wikiHow staff writer, Dan Hickey. Candace Gasper is a Social Media & Digital Marketing Consultant and the Owner of Digital Candy, a social media agency. With over seven years of professional experience, Candace is an expert in social media and content creation, specializing in working with local businesses to share their narratives and help them expand their reach. Candace received her Bachelor of Science in Merchandising, Apparels, and Textiles from the University of Kentucky. This article has been viewed 234,462 times.

      22 votes - 61%

      Co-authors: 6

      Updated: March 20, 2024


      Categories: English Vocabulary

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      W/ Meaning: Shorthand & Slang Usage, History & More (2024)


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