tittle

Lowercase i and j, with tittles in red.

EnglishEdit

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EtymologyEdit

From Medieval Latin titulus (small stroke, diacritical mark, accent), from Latin titulus (title).

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

tittle (plural tittles)

  1. A small, insignificant amount (of something); a vanishing scintilla; a measly crumb; a minute speck.
  2. Any small dot, stroke, or diacritical mark, especially if part of a letter, or if a letter-like abbreviation; in particular, the dots over the Latin letters i and j.
    • 1590, Bales, The Arte of Brachygraphie (quoted in Daid King's 2001 'The Ciphers of the Monks'):
      The foure pricks or tittles are these. The first is a full prick or period. The second is a comma or crooked tittle.
    • 1965, P. A. Marijnen, The Encyclopedia of the Bible:
      The words "jot" and "tittle" in this passage refer to diacritic marks, that is, dashes, dots, or commas added to a letter to accentuate the pronunciation.
    • 1987, Andrea van Arkel-De Leeuw van Weenen, Möðruvallabók, AM 132 Fol: Index and concordance, page xii:
      (the page calls both "a superscript sign (hooklike)" and also a diacritical abbreviation of "er" (er#Icelandic) "tittles")
    • 2008, Roy Blount, Alphabet juice: the energies, gists, and spirits of letters:
      A tittle is more or less the same thing (the dot over an i, for instance), except that it can be traced back to Medieval Latin for a little mark over or under a letter, such as an accent ague or a cedilla. I don't know whether an umlaut is one or two tittles. Maybe it's a jot and a tittle side by side.

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Last modified on 18 April 2014, at 03:43