See also: Tittle


Lowercase i and j, with tittles in red.
Assorted tittles illustrated in red
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  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈtɪt.əl/
  • (file)

Etymology 1Edit

From Medieval Latin titulus (small stroke, diacritical mark, accent), from Latin titulus (title). Doublet of title and tilde.


tittle (plural tittles)

  1. A small, insignificant amount (of something); a modicum or speck.
    • 1704, Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub:
      I am living fast to see the time when a book that misses its tide shall be neglected, as the moon by day, or like mackerel a week after the season. No man has more nicely observed our climate than the bookseller who bought the copy of this work; he knows to a tittle what subjects will best go off in a dry year, and which it is proper to expose foremost when the weather-glass is fallen to much rain.
  2. (typography) 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.
Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit


tittle (third-person singular simple present tittles, present participle tittling, simple past and past participle tittled)

  1. (Scotland) To chatter.
Related termsEdit