Posted in Chatty

Word Origins: Ditto? ditto?? ( . ___ . )

I’ve become a Wordle convert after months of resisting the baffling squares being shared by everyone on my social media feeds. One of my friends today played the word “ditto” which made me think of it outside the context of children being snotty or Pokemon for maybe the first time ever. I mean… ditto? That’s a real word? Is it just me or does it seem like a word that adults don’t use? An unprofessional word?

So… what does it mean, technically? Could I defend my usage of it in a meeting or should I probably pass that one on by in favor of “I concur?”

Origins of “ditto”

When did it first get used?
1620s, in Italian! Specifically the Tuscan dialect. Go you!

What does it mean?
modern day meaning is “what they said” or “same here” kind of mentality. Agreeing with a previous statement or sentiment

Originally, it was “in the month of the same name” which is… weird and specific and kind of confusing?

What did it come from?
People have always been lazy AF (or efficient AF depending on perspective) and ditto is a good example of that. It was used in Italian to avoid constantly restating the month when giving dates, so that instead of saying July 1, July 2, July 3… it would be July 1, ditto 2 ditto 3 (I guess?) which was … easier? (I guess?)

We definitely still see this in lists of things, but usually with the quotation mark spacing to represent the same item being present. Example:

  • July 1
  • ” ” 2
  • ” ” 3
  • ” ” 4
  • August 15
  • ” ” 16

I see that at least, at work especially.

English was like “DAMN that would be useful! But let’s make it even more useful and just have it apply to everything instead of just dates.”

BAM: 1670s sees English using ditto as a general “same as before” meaning. Kudos on the sweet borrow, English!

And now the slurry of ditto gifs that y’all MUST have expected from me by now.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

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