A tittle is a small distinguishing mark, such as a diacritic or the dot on a lowercase "i" or "j". The tittle is an integral part of the glyph of "i" and "j", but diacritic dots can appear over other letters in various languages. The tittle of "i" or "j" is omitted when a diacritic is placed in the tittle's usual position (as í or ĵ), but not when the diacritic is elsewhere (as į, ɉ), and traditionally not in Vietnamese.

History and usage

The tittle first appeared in Latin manuscripts in the 11th century, to distinguish the letter "i" from strokes of nearby letters. Although originally a larger mark, it was reduced to a dot when Roman-style typefaces were introduced.

This word is rarely used. Its most prominent occurrence is in the introduction to the Antithesis of the Law in the Gospel of Matthew (5:18): "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" (NKJV). The quotation uses them as an example of extremely minor details. The phrase "jot and tittle" indicates that every small detail has received attention. The word tittle in this far older text refers, however, to the Hebrew sign, the tagin.

In the Greek original translated as English "jot and tittle" is found iota and keraia. [ [http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/strongs.pl?strongs=2503 Blue Letter Bible] ] Iota is the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet (ι), but since only capitals were used at the time the Greek New Testament was written (Ι), it probably represents the Hebrew or Aramaic yodh (י) which is the smallest letter of the Hebrew and Aramaic alphabets. "Keraia" is a hook or serif, possibly accents in Greek but more likely hooks on Hebrew or Aramaic letters, (ב) versus (כ), or additional marks such as crowns (as Vulgate "apex") found in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, which are the first five books of the Jewish Bible. A keraia is also used in Greek numerals.

The standard reference for NT Greek is "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature", Bauer, Gingrich, Danker, et al.

Dotless and dotted i

A number of alphabets use dotted and dotless I, both upper and lower case.

In the modern Turkish alphabet, the absence or presence of a tittle distinguishes two different letters representing two different phonemes: the letter "I" / "ı", with the absence of a tittle also on the lower case letter, represents the close back unrounded vowel IPA| [ɯ] , while "İ" / "i", with the inclusion of a tittle even on the capital letter, represents the close front unrounded vowel IPA| [i] .

In the latest Latin based Kazakh alphabet, there is also a dotted and dotless letter i and I for different sounds.

There is only one letter I in Irish; but "i" is undotted in the traditional uncial Gaelic script to avoid confusion of the tittle with the "buailte" overdot found over consonants. Modern texts replace the "buailte" with a "h", and use the same antiqua-descendant fonts, which have a tittle, as other Latin-alphabet languages. However, bilingual road signs use dotless i in lowercase Irish text to better distinguish "i" from "í". The letter "j" is not used in Irish other than in foreign words.

In most Latin-based orthographies, the lowercase letter "i" loses its dot when a diacritical mark, such as an acute or grave accent, is place atop the letter. However, in Vietnamese, the lowercase letter "i" traditionally retains its dot even when accented. This detail is often lost in computers and on the Internet, due to the obscurity of Vietnamese specialty fonts.


* It is thought that the phrase "to a T" is derived from this word. [ [http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-toa2.htm Where did the phrase "to the T" come from?] ]
* The phrase "to dot one's "i"s and cross one's "t"s" is used to mean "to put the finishing touches to" or "to be pedantic".



* [http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=tittle Dictionary.com — Tittle]
* [http://www.bible-history.com/backd2/jot_tittle.html Not One "Jot or Tittle"]

External links

* [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2356669 Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon]
* [http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=345730 "Tittle" on Everything2]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tittle — Tit tle, n. [OE. titel, titil, apparently a dim. of tit, in the sense of small; cf. G. t[ u]ttel a tittle, dim. of OHG. tutta teat. Perhaps, however, the same word as title, n.] A particle; a minute part; a jot; an iota. [1913 Webster] It is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tittle — ist der Familienname von Charles R. Tittle (* 1939), amerikanischer Soziologe Y. A. Tittle (* 1926), amerikanischer Footballspieler Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezeichn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tittle — index iota, minimum, scintilla Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • tittle — (n.) late 14c., small stroke or point in writing, representing L. apex in L.L. sense of accent mark over a vowel, borrowed (perhaps by influence of Prov. titule the dot over i ) from L. titulus inscription, heading …   Etymology dictionary

  • tittle — *particle, bit, mite, smidgen, whit, atom, iota, jot …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • tittle — ► NOUN ▪ a tiny amount or part of something. ORIGIN Latin titulus title , later small stroke, accent …   English terms dictionary

  • tittle — [tit′ l] n. [ME title, orig. same word as TITLE] 1. a dot or other small mark used as a diacritic 2. a very small particle; iota; jot …   English World dictionary

  • tittle — noun /ˈtɪt.əl/ a) A small, insignificant amount (of something); a vanishing scintilla; a measly crumb; a minute speck. The foure pricks or tittles are these. The first is a full prick or period. The second is a comma or crooked tittle. b) Any… …   Wiktionary

  • tittle — /tit l/, n. 1. a dot or other small mark in writing or printing, used as a diacritic, punctuation, etc. 2. a very small part or quantity; a particle, jot, or whit: He said he didn t care a tittle. [bef. 900; ME titel, OE titul < ML titulus mark… …   Universalium

  • tittle — /ˈtɪtl / (say titl) noun 1. a dot or other small mark in writing or printing, used, for example, as a diacritic. 2. a very small part or quantity; a particle, jot, or whit: *Yet he had managed to succeed without, in the process, sacrificing jot… …  

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”