"Sc." redirects here. For other uses, see SC (disambiguation).
Look up viz. or videlicet in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

The abbreviation viz. (or viz without a full stop), short for the Latin videlicet, is used as a synonym for "namely", "that is to say", "to wit", or "as follows". It is typically used to introduce examples or further details to illustrate a point.[1]


Viz. is shorthand for the adverb videlicet. It uses Tironian notes, a system of Latin shorthand developed c.63 BC. It comprises the first two letters, "vi", followed by the last two, "et", using the z-shaped Tironian "et", historically written ⁊,[2][note 1] a common contraction for "et" in Latin shorthand in Ancient Rome and medieval Europe.


Viz. is an abbreviation of videlicet, which itself is a contraction from Latin of videre licet meaning "it is permitted to see".[3][4][5] The spelling viz. is the continuation of an abbreviation using Tironian et (vi⁊), the z replacing the once the latter had fallen out of common use.

In contradistinction 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.

Scilicet (sc., ss., §)

A similar expression is scilicet, 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. or, in a caption, as §, where it provides a statement of venue and is read as "to wit".[7] Scilicet can be read as "namely", "to wit", or "that is to say", or pronounced /ˈsklkɛt/ or anglicized as /ˈsɪlsɛt/.[8]



  1. According to E. Cobham Brewer (1810–1897), Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the same abbreviation mark was used for "habet" and "omnibus".


  1. ""videlicet", Random House Dictionary". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  2. Brewer, Ebenezer (1970). Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. New York: Harper & Row. p. 1132.
  3. OED
  4. The New Fowler's Modern English Usage (revised third edition, 1998), pp. 825, 828.
  5. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917
  6. 1 2 AMHER (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1917.
  7. Black's Law Dictionary (sixth edition, 1990), p. 1403.
  8. AMHER (fourth edition, 2000), p. 1560.
  9. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin at Project Gutenberg.
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