What Does W/O Mean?

W/O means "Without." The abbreviation W/O is used to replace the word "without" in any context.

Although its origin is contested, W/O has been used since the rise of the fast-food industry in the 1950s, when, as a form of shorthand to save time, waitresses replaced the words "with" and "without" with the phrases W/ W/ and W/O when writing down food orders.

Of note, the abbreviation W/O can also mean “Work Order”. In the online gaming community “Walk Over” is used to describe an easy victory, taken from the boxing term "Walk Over." If a boxing opponent is unable to start the bout, the victor symbolically walks from his corner to his opponent's to claim a victory by what is known as a "walk over."

Summary of Key Points

"Without" is the most common definition for W/O on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers

Image for W/O

When I write W/O, I mean this:

meaning of W/O
W/O means something or someone is absent (in this case without makeup).


Examples of W/O in Sentences

Here are examples of W/O being used in conversations:
  • Richie: If you can go to the gym W/O telling people on the Internet, you are instantly hired by the CIA.
  • Ian: I always tell people when I've been to the gym though.
  • Richie: Exactly.
  • Bernie: Are you going out tonight?
  • Barry: Yes, W/O my girlfriend too!

An Academic Look at W/O

W/O is classified as a cyber term as opposed to an initialism abbreviation or an acronym. Initially, cyber term terms were introduced for brevity, but, particularly with the advent of predictive texting and on-screen keyboards, they are now mostly employed for fun. Cyber terms differ from icons because they are not pictorial representations.

W/O is used to replace the preposition without. For example:
  • The dog came back W/O the ball.
  • (Here, W/O is a preposition showing the relationship between the words dog and ball.)

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have said something like "without" instead of W/O.

Example of W/O Used in a Text


See Also

Learn how to insert special punctuation symbols AWOL (Absent Without Leave) CLWY (Can't Live Without You) COMMANDO (Without Underwear) DRO (Hydroponically Grown Cannabis (i.e. without soil)) GCWOK (Gay Couple Without Kids) WAX (Without Any Experience) WTTM (Without Thinking Too Much) TWAIN (Technology Without An Interesting Name) CLWY (Can't Live Without You)