origins of the slash in j/k
January 14, 2004 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Online acronyms are often precise as to their source, such as "ROTFL" instead of the simpler "RFL." So where did the slash in "J/K" come from? Is that like the slash in the title of "Face/Off"?
posted by agregoli to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
No, it's more like the slash in "I'm/illiterate".
posted by interrobang at 5:21 PM on January 14, 2004

Snarky as that sounds, I think that's actually the best explanation I've ever heard. Anecdote and personal experience suggest "J/K" is used by the same folks who use "A/S/L" and "LOL:" the less net-savvy and those to whom literacy is of less importance. AOLers, basically.
posted by majick at 5:38 PM on January 14, 2004

Er...the slashes are common in acronyms in some less-than illiterate circles. A/R for accounts receivable, etc.

Maybe not pristine grammar, but not just illiteracy either.
posted by oissubke at 6:14 PM on January 14, 2004

What oissubke said -- in both computing and business fields, there are some pretty odd acronyms that are used frequently by everyone. And don't get me started on science fields.

I think the slash in j/k is because jk is too short ... ideally, acronyms are three letters long.
posted by SpecialK at 7:08 PM on January 14, 2004

I always thought of "j/k" as the work of the same people who brought us "friends 4 eva"* and "2 nice 2B 4gotten" -- namely, middle school girls writing in each others' yearbooks.

*I only ever saw this one in the Boston area.
posted by luser at 8:06 PM on January 14, 2004

I agree with SpecialK re length, and offer that maybe it's also because the letters j and k are consecutive, so the slash is in there partly to let you know that they're not just suddenly randomly reciting the alphabet.

I'm not really kidding!
posted by onlyconnect at 8:08 PM on January 14, 2004

I'm with luser -- j/k showed up quite a bit in notes I got from girls when I was a youngun. I would guess it came about b/c it's faster to do a / than a pair of .s.
posted by me3dia at 8:44 PM on January 14, 2004

Actually, after writing b/c (because), I wonder if it might be an extention of the "w/" abbreviation of "with."
posted by me3dia at 8:46 PM on January 14, 2004

I always thought J/K was "just kidding".
posted by fullerine at 11:04 PM on January 14, 2004

If I remember correctly, the abbreviation "j/k" was around before AOL, and certainly before the web. It was used on BBSs at least in the late 80s.

Perhaps it started as "joking/kidding" and then evolved into "just kidding", but somehow kept the slash? That doesn't make much sense either, I'm afraid.
posted by Hildago at 11:19 PM on January 14, 2004

Not to be confused with K/S (N/S/F/W)...
posted by mkultra at 6:40 AM on January 15, 2004

Response by poster: Hmm, so no real good answer. That's what I was afraid of. Oh well.
posted by agregoli at 8:12 AM on January 15, 2004

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