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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:14 pm

• iota •

Pronunciation: ai-o-tê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The ninth letter of the Greek alphabet, equivalent to a short. 2. A jot, a tittle, a wee bit, a very, very small amount.

Notes: The name of the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet has become our word for the smallest imaginable thing in general (see Word History). It sounds a bit odd in English, so it has not developed a derivational family. A rather odd abstract noun, iotacism, is occasionally used in referring to overpronunciation of the sound i[/i., such as the pronunciation of [i]pen as [pin] down South or bed as [bid] in Australia and New Zealand.

In Play: This word is used in Matthew 5:18 of the New Testament: "For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot [iota] or one tittle shall in any wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled." The word is usually translated as jot in English, but in the original Greek it is iota. The use of the original iota is quite common in English today: "I will not retreat one iota from my opposition to putting new employees in cubicles."

Word History: Iota is the name of the ninth and smallest letter in the Greek alphabet. The letter's name is from Semitic, probably Hebrew yodh, Modern Hebrew yud, the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, expressing the sound [y]. This word goes back to yodh, the tenth letter of the Phoenician alphabet, also the word for "hand". This suggests that the shape of the letter likely originated as an Egyptian hieroglyph of an arm. English also borrowed the French version of this word, jota, shortened it and Anglicized the pronunciation to jot. (I offer our heartfelt gratitude to Margaret Knapp for suggesting today's Good little Word without an iota of hesitation.)
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Re: Iota

Postby MTC » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:55 am

I care not an

ace, atom,bean,bit, bubkus ,continental, crumb, dab, damn, darn, durn, diddly, diddly-squat , doodly-squat , fig, driblet, ghost, glimmer, grain,hint,hoot,infinitesimal, jot,lick,little, mite,modicum,nip, ounce,particle,peanuts, pin, rap, ray,scintilla, scrap, scruple, semblance, shade, shadow, shred,skosh, smidge, smidgen, snap, speck,spot,sprinkling, strain, streak, suspicion, squat, syllable, tad,tittle,touch, trace, whit, or whoop

about IOTA!
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Re: Iota

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:30 pm

I wouldn't either if I had all those lovelies
at the tip of my tongue !
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: Iota

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:53 pm

In my university days, the Greek Fraternities pronounced iota as the Good Doctor pronounces it. In the mathematics department we were required to pronounce it ee-ota.
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Re: Iota

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:11 pm

Note the doc said the NAME came from Semitic. Hebrew yodh is not a vowel, but a consonant, prounounced like our Y. In fact, ancient Hebrew had no vowels. They were added later by a group dubbed the Massoretes after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE to protect the rabbinical readings as Jews scattered into a diaspora.
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Re: Iota

Postby Pepshort » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:47 am

Well said, Perry. To add: In Hebrew yad means both hand and place. Some may be familiar with Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial. The name "Yad Vashem" is taken from Isaiah (56:5): "Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place (yad) and a name (shem) .... I will give them an everlasting name ...." Naming the Holocaust memorial "yad vashem" conveys the idea of establishing a national depository for the names of Jewish victims who have no one to carry their name after death.

Shem originates from Noah's son Shem, also the source of Semite.
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Re: Iota

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:31 pm

I've been there a number of times. Haunting.
And the holocaust museum in D.C. is likewise.
Yad Vashem is a very fitting name, now that
I understand it. Thanks.
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