The abbreviation viz. (or viz without a full stop) is short for the Latin videlicet, which itself is a contraction of the Latin phrase videre licet, meaning "it is permitted to see".[1][2][3] It is used as a synonym for "namely", "that is to say", "to wit", "which is", 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, can be transmitted through networking".[4]


Viz. is shorthand for the Latin adverb videlicet using scribal abbreviation, a system of medieval Latin shorthand. It consists of the first two letters, vi, followed by the last two, et, using U+A76B LATIN SMALL LETTER ET.[5] With the adoption of movable type printing, the (then current) blackletter form of the letter ⟨z⟩, , was substituted for this symbol since few typefaces included it.[6]


In contrast to i.e. and e.g., viz. is used to indicate a detailed description of something stated before, and when it precedes a list of group members, it implies (near) completeness.


Compared with scilicet

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. It can also appear as a section sign (§) in a caption, where it is used to provide a statement of venue, that is to say a location where an action is to take place.

Scilicet can be read as "namely," "to wit," or "that is to say," or pronounced /ˈsklɪkɛt/ in English-speaking countries, or also anglicized as /ˈsɪlɪsɛt/.[9]

See also



  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (revised third edition, 1998), pp. 825, 828.
  3. ^ American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917
  4. ^ "'videlicet', Random House Dictionary". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  5. ^ Brewer, Ebenezer (1970). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: Harper & Row. p. 943. According to Cobham Brewer, the same abbreviation mark was used for "habet" and "omnibus".
  6. ^ Hill, Will (30 June 2020). "Chapter 25: Typography and the printed English text" (PDF). The Routledge Handbook of the English Writing System. p. 6. ISBN 9780367581565. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-07-10. The types used by Caxton and his contemporaries originated in Holland and Belgium, and did not provide for the continuing use of elements of the Old English alphabet such as thorn <þ>, eth <ð>, and yogh <ʒ>. The substitution of visually similar typographic forms has led to some anomalies which persist to this day in the reprinting of archaic texts and the spelling of regional words.
  7. ^ a b The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917.
  8. ^ The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin at Project Gutenberg.
  9. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1560.