Printable Version
Pronunciation: dit-o Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The aforesaid, the same as was just spoken or printed above. 2. The same or similar thing.

Notes: While today's word has a meager lexical family, it itself may be used as an adjective (a ditto day) or verb (to ditto what somebody else says). Rush Limbaugh fans called themselves dittoheads, and dittoship and dittology have all had brief careers in the past. Ditto is usually symbolized with the double quote sign (").

In Play: DittoDitto is a silly option to avoid repetition in a language that is rife with repetition: "Jack Daniels came to work Monday morning rather the worse for liquor and it was said, ditto last night." Repetitions like 'red, red rose' and 'Sing! Sing! Sing!' are commonplace in English: "Agnes came to the party in dittos of Maude Lynn Dresser's attire."

Word History: Today's Good Word was borrowed from the Tuscan dialect of Italian, ditto "(in) the said (month or year)", a variant of literary Italian detto "(already) said", the past participle of dire "to say". The Italian word is a reduction of Latin dicere "speak, tell, say", found in many English borrowings like dictate, predict, dictionary. Latin inherited its word from PIE root deik- "to show, say emphatically", source also of Old English tæcan "to show", Modern English teach, Ancient Greek deiknyein "to show, indicate", German zeigen "to show", and Latin digitus "finger", a pointer, indicator. (Let's hope this contribution by the good Doctor himself is no ditto of any other dictionary's entry for today's silly Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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