This comes from the command s, originally in ed but found in Perl, to replace one string with another. Although the command does not require slashes — other punctuation can be used — in this informal (i.e., outside of scripting) verb slashes are virtually universally used.
In the original command, a trailing g means that the change in strings should be effected every time the first string appears (not just the first time it appears); this g is often used in this informal verb also, as described in the usage note below.
s/ (imperative only)
- (informal or even humorous) Replace the following string with the one that appears after it.
- I hate you, you idiot!
- Erm, s/hate/love/ and s/idiot/lovable fellow/.
- As in the example sentences, the string to be replaced and the string replacing it are surrounded by slashes. Often, the second string is followed by a g; see etymology, above.
- For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.
Shortened form of sur
Chiefly used in place names, such as on signposts.