Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's Cool Dictionary  Fact

I'm looking up the phrase "to a T." It appears in all caps, in a head so no period at the end. Put those together, and it's really hard to read:


See what I mean?

Trying to find a solution that wouldn't involve rewriting on the editor's part, I was thinking, "tee" is OK for "T-shirt," but why do I think it's a bad substitute here?

So, I looked up "T."  Natch.  And found this:

short for "to a tittle"

A few thoughts surface. The first is that "tee" is not really commonly used to substitute for the alphabet letter, and I don't like it here. We've already shortened "tittle" to "T"; shortening it yet again is annoying to me.  However, when you look up "tee," you find: "to a tee."

So, a minor poll: which would you do--change to "tee"? Or ask for a rewrite?

And, "tittle." Yay!

We have an album at home w/ the score for the Syracuse University production of "Wind in the Willows," on which the judge thunders that Toad will be in jail "until the last jot and tittle of his sentence" is fulfilled.

Here's the definition: a point or small sign used as a diacritical mark in writing or printing. Its second meaning, which is the one I had thought of always is "a very small part."

(its original meaning makes "the last jot and tittle of his sentence" a pun!!!)

I wonder whether it meant a *specific* shape, and if so, which one?

Don't you think you can start using this word? When you're routing proofs, and talking about proofreaders' marks?

What fun thing have you found in the dictionary lately?


JD (The Engine Room) said...

Please tell me you used 'TO A TITTLE' in the head. Please!

TootsNYC said...

That would be funny! (but nobody would get it; I think folks in the U.K. might use "tittle," now and then; nobody does in the U.S.)

Naw, we took the whole reference out.