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Different Abbreviations for “Without” — All You Need to Know

Different Abbreviations for “Without” — All You Need to Know

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“What are the different abbreviations for “without,” and when exactly do we use them?” – if these questions have been sneaking up on you, you’ve certainly come to the right page.

Thumbs up, thumbs up. Today, we’ll try to help you make jotting down notes more manageable and faster by looking into the different abbreviations of the word “without.”

Not limited to that, we’ll also check out the different cases and contexts in which you can use these abbreviations more practically.

Ready or not, here we go.


What are the different abbreviations for “without”?

“W/o” and “w.o.” are commonly-used abbreviations for “without.” They can be used in almost every casual writing context, such as when taking notes in a meeting or at school. Meanwhile,  “s̅” and “sin.” (“sine”) are abbreviations for “without” used particularly within the medical field.


An overview of “abbreviations”

To make language use more convenient and effective, we use different techniques both in speaking and writing.

One of the most common ways of doing so is through abbreviations. Abbreviations can further be done in four ways – initialism, acronym, clipping, and contraction.

Some of the most common abbreviations that appear in job ads include “ASAP,” “biz dev,” “DBA,” “M.A.” and “Ph.D.”

By the way, the standard abbreviation for “Philosophiae Doctor” in American English is “Ph.D.,” while “PhD” is more common in British English.

Initialism, as the word suggests, is something that makes use of initial letters. These letters are read separately, such as when we say “the U.S.A” and “F.B.I.”

The same is true with acronyms because they make use of initials too. However, acronyms are what we can consider “readable” initials like “NATO” and “CAPTCHA’.

Meanwhile, clipping is the process of shortening a word by using only a part of it, such as when we say “gym” instead of “gymnasium” and “bike” for “motorbike.”

Contraction, on the other hand, is the process of combining two words and pronouncing them as one. Contracted words are often signaled by an apostrophe, such as in “I’m” for “I am.”

Other than making language economical, abbreviations become necessary, too, when we need to meet certain word-count goals like in the virtual world.

However, the underbelly of abbreviation usage that applies to most, if not all, people is to make note-taking more efficient.

Now that we’ve laid out the basics of today’s topic, it’s time to delve deeper into the different ways of abbreviating “without” in English.


Standard abbreviations for “without”

“Without” is a word that suggests the idea of “nothingness” or “nonexistence,” thereby making it more of an ontological tool.

More precisely speaking, “without” is used to suggest the meaning “not accompanied by” anything, which is useful in many well-known ways.

This word is mostly used as a preposition that suggests the meaning “in the absence of.”

At other times, though, “without” can also act either as a conjunction or adverb in a sentence.

To understand more about the different parts of speech in relation to punctuation use, reading our previous post on using a comma before “without” is recommended.

The following sections only focus more on the various ways of abbreviating “without” or writing it in shorthand form.

Take note that although abbreviations can be used within sentences, they work better in itemized listings because of their practical nature.


Using “w/o” as an abbreviation for “without”

The most common way of abbreviating “without” can be done by using the letter double “u,” a forward slash, and then the letter “o.”

As “w/o” is the most common way of abbreviating “without,” there is less chance of promoting misinterpretation with this choice.

That said, “w/o” can be used for personal or public information consumption, or at least as the second-best choice to the completely-spelled word.


Unit 308-A: w/o sink


Using “w.o.” as an abbreviation for “without”

“W.o.” is also another well-known abbreviation for “without.” This means periods can also be used instead of slashes in shortening the word.

In case you are in a hurry and want to make this abbreviation even shorter, you can also alternatively remove the periods, leaving only “wo” in the process.

Feel free to use these options when you are writing informally or when you simply want to avoid doing unnecessary keyboard clicks.



  • Bags w.o. handles = 12
  • Bags wo prints = 16


Using “s̅” as an abbreviation for “without”

In the medical field, a context-specific abbreviation for “without” is meanwhile used. People with medical backgrounds use the small letter “s” with an overstrike or overbar instead.

The symbol s̅” is called “sine,” which is of Latin origin. So, do not get intimidated at all upon seeing this symbol because it only means “without.”

Using the sine symbol with word processors may require a little more time than usual. Hence, this abbreviation for “without” works best in handwritten texts.


Nauseadiarrhea (Patient is nauseous but without diarrhea)


Using “sin.” as an abbreviation for “without”

In case you really want to make use of an abbreviation for “sine” instead of “without,” another option is to use “sin.” instead.

But, bear in mind that this is clearly a piece of medical jargon, and thus, it could lead to ambiguous messages when used inappropriately.

All things considered, feel free to use “sin.” as an abbreviation for “without” when you are taking notes for yourself or communicating with people in the medical field.


Pneumonia sin. fever (Pneumonia without fever)


Abbreviating other common words related to “without”

Apart from “without,” there are also other closely-related expressions that you might want to abbreviate when writing.

These words include “with or without” as well as “with.” Let’s also tackle how these can be conveniently abbreviated.


Abbreviations for “with or without”

The phrase “with or without” is used to suggest that something may or may not exist. It can be used to ask for choices or even just as a safety measure.


Using “w/wo” as an abbreviation for “with or without”

A well-known shortcut for “with or without” is “w/wo,” where the slash can be understood as something that would represent the conjunction “or.”

As you may figure, using periods to separate “w” and “o” is also possible but not advised since the main goal of using this form of abbreviation is convenience.

Mind you that it is best to this abbreviation if and when the information is for personal use, or at least you know that your target audience won’t misinterpret what you mean.


Willing to go w/wo travel insurance:
James Callaghan
Taylor Moss
Zoey Andrews


Using “w±o” as an abbreviation for “with or without”

Another alternative shorthand form of “with or without” can be done by making use of the letter double “u,” followed by the plus-minus symbol, and then the letter “o.”

As an alternative, you may also use the minus-plus symbol, which simply is a plus sign with an overstrike or overline.

This abbreviation is less likely used than “w/wo,” so you had better be careful when using this in writing, especially when other people will be reading your message.

It also takes time to insert the plus-minus symbol in word processors.

Thus, you might want to limit this usage in handwritten contexts, such as when filling out forms.


Dog color preference: w±o spots


Using “w/ or w/o” as an abbreviation for “with or without”

If you want to use something that would less likely invite misinterpretation than “w/wo” and “w±o,” your next best choice should be “w/ or w/o.”

Many, if not most, people from different walks of life should be more familiar with this abbreviation, no matter whether native or not.

When you’re taking down notes at school, in a meeting, seminar, or conference, “w/ or w/o” is an easy way to go.


Assignment: Explain what the shaken infant syndrome is (w/ or w/o examples).
Deadline: Tuesday afternoon


Abbreviations for “with”

“With” is the opposite of “without.” That said, it can be used to suggest the meaning “in the presence of” instead of “in the absence of” something.

More precisely, though, “with” is used to mean “accompanied by” in more 


Using “w/” as an abbreviation for “with”

If you want to abbreviate “with,” the first suggested option is to use “w” followed by a forward slash or “w/.”

Common and easy to use, you can never go wrong with this abbreviation in most contexts, so long that you avoid using it in academic or business correspondence.

As a form of knowledge extension, you might also want to check out our previous post tackling the appropriate comma usage before “with” in case you want to improve your formal writing skills.


Items 902T to 903W: w/ 25% discount


Using “w.” as an abbreviation for “with”

Another option when opting to abbreviate “with” is to simply use the letter double “u” followed by a period afterward.

If you think using a forward slash needs more time and effort, feel free to change it into a period instead.


Window-mounted a/c w. inverter: $230
Granite countertop w backsplash: $2,500


Using “c” as an abbreviation for “with”

Last but not least, the letter “c” with an overstrike can also be used to abbreviate “with.” This, however, is used in the medical field.

The letter “c” stands for the Latin word “cum,” which means “with.”

You may have heard of the expression “cum laude” before. If not, it simply means “with honors or distinction” in English.

If you are someone who uses eyeglasses, you might have encountered the following example in your previous diagnosis:


Myopia c astigmatism (nearsighted with astigmatism)


Frequently Asked Questions on “Abbreviations for ‘Without’”


What is the abbreviation for “without” in the medical field?

“Sin.” and “are shorthand forms of the Latin word “sine,” which means “without.” People who are in the medical field are best known for using these abbreviations.


How do we use “w/” in a sentence?

“W/” is used to mean “with,” and it can be used to say that an entity is accompanied by something. “With” is a preposition, and therefore, it should be followed by a noun.


Does “w” mean “with” or “without”?

The letter “w” is used to abbreviate the word “with,” and it can also be written either with a period or a forward slash. Whereas, “wo,” “w.o.” or w/o” means “without.”