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virgule

[vur-gyool] /ˈvɜr gyul/
noun, Printing.
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/or 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; 3/4; Sweetest love I do not go/For weariness of thee.
Also called diagonal, separatrix, shilling mark, slant, slash, solidus; especially British, stroke.
Origin
1830-1840
1830-40; < French virgule comma, little rod < Latin virgula; see virgulate
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for virgule

virgule

/ˈvɜːɡjuːl/
noun
1.
(printing) another name for solidus
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
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Contemporary definitions for virgule
noun

See forward slash

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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virgule in Technology

character
Rare, and ambiguous: slash or comma.
"Virgule" (or rather, Latin "virgula", meaning "little rod" or, vividly enough, "little penis") was the name of a punctuation character shaped like a small slash and used in the Latin writing system much like a modern comma -- hence the ambiguity of this term in modern English.
Compare French "virgule" and Italian "virgola", meaning "comma" (not "slash"); Italian "doppia virgola" and "virgoletta", both meaning "double quote".
(1997-04-08)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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