The Encyclopedia
of Differences

Difference Between Slash and Backslash

Table of Contents

It is pretty easy to visually distinguish a Slash (/) from a Backslash (\). But are you aware of the other factors that set them apart? Read along to learn more.

What are the differences between Slash (/) and Backslash (\)?

Slashes and Backslashes are usually special characters that vary in appearance and are pretty different in the functionality sector as well. While the former, with a forward-leaning look, has applications in various fields, the latter is more applicable in programming languages. 

Before we proceed and start understanding the differences in detail, let us first have an idea of what Slashes and Backslashes actually are.

What is a Slash?

A Slash is a very popular punctuation mark whose application is widely spread over the English language. Oriented in a manner that the top leans forward, a slash appears like "/." This is one of the main reasons why it is also known as Forward Slash. In addition to that, Stroke, Oblique, Virgule are other popular terms used to denote a Slash.

slash key
Slash key

From being a connecting alternative to presenting routes, Slash has varied utilities. One of the basic applications of Slash is signifying "Or." For example, instead of saying apple or mango, we can simply write apple/mango. The symbol is often used in mathematics to denote a division. Apart from all these, the symbol "/" or Slash is widely visible in URLs. Other usages of Slash include computing, separating different levels in a given hierarchy, determining file paths, networking, and more.

What is a Backslash?

To put it in simple words, Backslash is a typographical mark that is a mirror image of a Slash, at least in visual appearance. Unlike Slash, the top end in a Backslash is leaning backward. Reverse Virgule, Slosh, Downhack, Backslant, hack, Whack, Bash, Escape (C/UNIX), Reverse Slant, and Back-Whack are among the other terms used to denote the symbol "\" or Backslash.

backslash key
Backslash key

The applications of Backslashes stick primarily to the world of programming languages. No matter which language you consider, taking aid of "\" is pretty evident. In addition to assisting the coders, Backslash is used in Typesetting Systems to initiate a Text Markup, in mathematics to denote differences and more.

Difference Between Slash and Backslash


Slash (or Forward Slash) is a commonly used punctuation mark. A Backslash is a typographic symbol that is generally used in computing languages.


Forward Slash looks like “/” while a Backslash appears like “\.”

Other Names

The Other Names for Slash: Forward Slash, Stroke, Virgule, and Oblique.

The Other Names for Backslash: Reverse Virgule, Slosh, Downhack, Backslant, hack, Whack, Bash, Escape (C/UNIX), Reverse Slant, and Back-Whack.


Talking about Slash, the top end leans in the forward direction. It is the main reason why a Slash is often termed as Forward Slash. At the same time, the top end of a backslash leans in the backward direction.

Position in the Keyboard

Slash (or Forward Slash) is positioned together with “Question Mark” on the keyboard. Apart from that, you can also find a dedicated button in the numeric pad. On the other hand, Backward Slash appears one time and is positioned right above the “Enter” key.


Uses is one section that sets Slash and Backslash majorly apart. The former shelters vivid functionality in different fields. In comparison, the latter is majorly used in programming languages. 

Forward Slash is usually used in literary writings to signify “or,” “per,” “and,” etc. Apart from that, Slash is the mathematical representation of division. Moreover, you’ll find Forward Slashes in website URLs, influencing various Networking needs, and more.

As already mentioned, Backslash has most of its implementations in programming languages. In addition to that, denoting a set of differences in mathematics is also carried out with the backward leaning Slash.

Naming Folders

While you can name a folder in your digital storage with a Backslash in it, the same cannot be done with a Slash. In most of the operating systems, Slashes (/) create subfolders within the main directory.

Comparison Chart: Slash Vs. Backslash

MeaningPunctuation markTypographic symbol
Other NamesForward Slash, Stroke, Virgule, and ObliqueReverse Virgule, Slosh, Downhack, Backslant, hack, Whack, Bash, Escape (C/UNIX), Reverse Slant, and Back-Whack
OrientationThe top end leans forwardThe top end leans backward
Position in KeyboardIt shares the key with Question Mark (?)Above the Enter Key
ApplicationsEnglish alliteration as a connective alternative, Mathematics as fraction or to denote division, In file paths, Networking, and more.Programming languages, Text Markup, Mathematics (as difference)
Naming FoldersCreates SubfoldersNames as usual

Similarities: How Slash is Similar to Backslash

Although they’re different in many aspects, there are certain factors that can be found common in both. Firstly, both the Slash and Backslash are symbols that feature vivid applications. Secondly, you can find both the characters on a computer keyboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Slash between two names mean?

A Slash (/) between two names generally indicates a choice. The punctuation represents the terms “or,” “per,” “and,” etc.

Does a Slash mean and/or?

A Slash (/) is commonly used to symbolize “alternatives.” With that being said, it is pretty evident that Slash (/) signifies and/or.

What is a Forward Slash Called?

A Slash or Forward Slash (/) is often known as stroke and oblique.

What is a Backslash (\) character?

With the Backslash (\) character, you’re looking at the mirror image of Forward Slash or Slash (/). Unlike Slash, its mirror image has significant applications in the field of computer programming.

What is a Backslash Called?

A Backslash (\) has many names. Sometimes it is known as Reverse Slant, while at other times, Back-Whack comes out to be the most common alternative. Other terms include Reverse Virgule, Slosh, Downhack, Backslant, Hack, Whack, Bash, Escape (C/UNIX), and more.


And there you've it. A complete analysis that sets Slash (/) apart from a Backslash (\). The article talks from the perspective of every element that sits differently in both. In addition, mentioning similar traits is also carried out in the most user-friendly approaches.

In case you had any trouble walking across this article, let us know in the comment section below. Also, if you think we missed out on mentioning any significant distinguishing factor, don't forget to educate our viewers and us about it as well.


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
Share our Article on:

Table of Contents

About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
All Posts Written By Tom Vincent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

magnifiercrosschevron-downarrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram