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The abbreviation viz. (or viz without a full stop), short for the Latin videlicet, which itself is a contraction from Latin of videre licet meaning "it is permitted to see", 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. For example: "all types of data viz. text, audio, video, pictures, graphics etc. can be transmitted through networking".
Viz. is shorthand for the adverb videlicet. It uses Tironian notes, a system of Latin shorthand developed c. 63 BCE. It comprises the first two letters, "vi", followed by the last two, "et", using the z-shaped Tironian "et", historically written ⁊,[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". 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.
- Viz. is usually read aloud as "that is", "namely", or "to wit", but is sometimes pronounced as it is spelt, viz.: //.
- Videlicet is pronounced // or //.
- 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."
- The noble gases, viz., helium, neon, argon, xenon, krypton, and radon, show an unexpected behavior when exposed to this new element.
Compared with scilicet (sc., ss., §)
A similar expression is scilicet (from earlier scire licet), 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". Scilicet can be read as "namely", "to wit", or "that is to say", or pronounced // or anglicized as //.
- According to E. Cobham Brewer (1810–1897), Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the same abbreviation mark was used for "habet" and "omnibus".
- "'videlicet', Random House Dictionary". dictionary.com. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- Brewer, Ebenezer (1970). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: Harper & Row. p. 1132.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (revised third edition, 1998), pp. 825, 828.
- American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917.
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin at Project Gutenberg.
- Black's Law Dictionary (sixth edition, 1990), p. 1403.
- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1560.