Is there a common abbreviation for "with or without"? e.g. w/wo or w/w/o

Obviously, something this complex is best written in full form, but I'm looking for something to use in space constrained applications. For example, I use a product management system that limits the length of product feature titles, and I'd like to convey in the title that this feature could be used with or without another feature.

Could anyone recommend a preferred substitute?

Related topics:

  • It's not an answer to your specific question, but for the larger question of how to abbreviate something that includes "with or without", you might just omit the optional thing in the short description. That is, "FOO with or without BAR" might be abbreviated to just "FOO".
    – Blckknght
    Nov 13, 2022 at 23:24
  • Is there any reason that you need to abbreviate? How may times will the reader see the phrase?
    – Greybeard
    Nov 14, 2022 at 0:01

3 Answers 3


If this is for use with a limited audience, especially one which can be directed to a glossary of abbreviations, then w/wo could be a decent option. I've used it myself, and seen it used, so it wouldn't seem strange to me. But as usual, context matters.


w/wo is used to mean "with and without" or "with or without" in at least some healthcare contexts. It's only 4 characters!

Source: https://www.allacronyms.com/W%5CWO
Example: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03087604


It depends how much space you have, but I’ve used ‘w±o’ or ‘w∓o’ before to mean ‘with or without’ when space was exceedingly tight. You wouldn't need a slash after it, but could use it if you’d like.

Like suppose the whole gang is starving one hot summer afternoon and so you tool on down to your local Doggie Heaven™ drive-in restaurant. When you get there, you notice that their menu advertises:

👉 Baskets come w/fries+slaw
👉 Naked dogs come w/o buns
👉 Fries and rings available w±o/salt

And so you order yourself up:

1 redhot basket w/rings
1 bratwurst basket w/kraut
1 naked polish w/chili
3 redhots w/o onions
1 knockwurst w/catsup

Or at least, that’s what your curbside food attendant writes down on their tiny little notepad, where space is dear and time of the essence.

  • I have never seen this and would struggle to understand it tbh. IMHO you'd be better off with the other suggestion of "(w/wo salt)" (more likely to be understood), or if space is really at a premium, "(±salt)" which is both easier to understand than "w±o" and shorter!
    – psmears
    Nov 13, 2022 at 21:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.