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"Sc." redirects here. For other uses, see SC (disambiguation).

The abbreviation viz. (or viz without a full stop), short for the Latin videlicet, is used as a synonym for "namely", "that is to say", "to wit", or "as follows". It is typically used to introduce examples or further details to illustrate a point.[1]


Viz. is shorthand for the adverb videlicet. It uses Tironian notes, a system of Latin shorthand developed c. 63 BC. It comprises the first two letters, "vi", followed by the last two, "et", using the z-shaped Tironian "et", historically written ⁊,[2][note 1] a common contraction for "et" in Latin shorthand in Ancient Rome and medieval Europe.


Viz. is an abbreviation of videlicet, which itself is a contraction from Latin of videre licet meaning "it is permitted to see".[3][4][5] The spelling viz. is the continuation of an abbreviation using Tironian et (vi⁊), the z replacing the once the latter had fallen out of common use.

In contradistinction to i.e. and e.g., viz. is used to indicate a detailed description of something stated before, and when it precedes a list of group members, it implies (near) completeness.

Scilicet (sc., ss., §)[edit]

A similar expression is scilicet, abbreviated as sc., which is Latin for "it is permitted to know". Sc. provides a parenthetic clarification, removes an ambiguity, or supplies a word omitted in preceding text,  while viz. is usually used to elaborate or detail text which precedes it.

In legal usage, scilicet appears abbreviated as ss. or, in a caption, as §, where it provides a statement of venue[clarification needed] and is read as "to wit".[7] Scilicet can be read as "namely", "to wit", or "that is to say", or pronounced /ˈsklkɛt/ or anglicized as /ˈsɪlsɛt/.[8]


  • The main point of his speech, viz. that our attitude was in fact harmful, was not understood.
  • "My grandfather had four sons who grew up, viz.: Thomas, John, Benjamin and Josiah."[9]
  • The noble gases, viz., helium, neon, argon, xenon, krypton, and radon, show an unexpected behavior when exposed to this new element.


  1. ^ According to E. Cobham Brewer (1810–1897), Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the same abbreviation mark was used for "habet" and "omnibus".


  1. ^ ""videlicet", Random House Dictionary". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Brewer, Ebenezer (1970). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: Harper & Row. p. 1132. 
  3. ^ OED
  4. ^ The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (revised third edition, 1998), pp. 825, 828.
  5. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917
  6. ^ a b AMHER (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917.
  7. ^ Black's Law Dictionary (sixth edition, 1990), p. 1403.
  8. ^ AMHER (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1560.
  9. ^ The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin at Project Gutenberg.