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virgule

[vur-gyool]
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noun
  1. a short oblique stroke (/) between two words indicating that whichever is appropriate may be chosen to complete the sense of the text in which they occur: The defendant and his/her attorney must appear in court.
  2. a dividing line, as in dates, fractions, a run-in passage of poetry to show verse division, etc.: 3/21/27; “Sweetest love, I do not go/For weariness of thee.” (John Donne)
  3. a short oblique stroke (/) used in computing; a forward slash.
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Origin of virgule

1830–40; < French virgule comma, little rod < Latin virgula; see virgulate
Also called diagonal, separatrix, shilling mark, slant, slash, solidus; especially British stroke.
Can be confusedbackslash forward slash virgule
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for virgule

virgule

noun
  1. printing another name for solidus
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Word Origin

C19: from French: comma, from Latin virgula a little rod, from virga rod
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for virgule

n.

thin sloping line, used as a comma in medieval MSS, 1837, from French virgule, from Latin virgula "punctuation mark," literally "little twig," diminutive of virga "shoot, rod, stick." The word had been borrowed in its Latin form in 1728.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper