The forward slash is also referred to as the oblique symbol. It is commonly used for writing fractions as well as separating letters and words.
The oblique symbol is often referred to as a slash or, more specifically, as a forward slash. This is to distinguish it from the not-as-common backward slash, The oblique symbol is widely used in fractions, such as 2/3 or 5/6. There are many other uses, however, in which it comes into play.
The slash is used in English text as a substitute for the word "or." For example, male/female or y/n. It can also indicate a line break when quoting poetry, such as "Mary had a little lamb / its fleece was white as snow." Sometimes, the oblique replaces a hyphen or dash to denote a strong joint between words as in "the Hemingway/Faulkner generation.
Abbreviations make use of the oblique symbol as well, for example "w/e" is short for "whatever" and "i/o" stands for "input/output."
A proofreader often uses the slash mark to separate out his editing thoughts written in the margins of the paper. When used in this manner, the oblique is referred to as a separatrix.
The slash mark is used in computing as a path component separator, URL addresses and in some chat clients.