"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Off to a T

The expression 'Down to a tee', 'Down to a T' or 'Off to a T' means to the finest detail or to perfection; as in 'He could copy her accent off to a T."

The saying is said to have originated as a shortened form of "to a tittle", an expression in use in English by the early 17th century, with the meaning "to the smallest detail." The variation appears by the late 17th century.

The word "tittle" means a tiny shred; a tiny or scarcely detectable amount; or the dot on the letter i.

The word also oocurs in the phrase 'jot and tttle'. A jot being an iota; a point; the dot on the letter i; the smallest particle. The phrase 'jot and tittle' is therefore tautological and means to the smallest degree. It was first rceorded in English vin William Tindale's translation of the New Testament in 1526. It appears there in Matthew 5:18:
One iott or one tytle of the lawe shall not scape.


1 comment:

  1. This is definitely (Simply Heather) going in my book!
    And I might add, your post on Ramblings is correct down to the jot! Oh, I can't see the post...was that it???