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Ditto mark

English ditto mark
»
French ditto mark CJK ditto mark

The ditto mark (”)[1] is a typographic symbol indicating that the word(s) or figure(s) above it are to be repeated. For example:

Black pens, box of twenty  .....  $2.10
Blue  ”     ”   ”  ”      .....  $2.35

History

Ditto marks date to cuneiform tablets.

Early evidence of ditto marks can be seen on a cuneiform tablet of the Neo-Assyrian period (934–608 BCE) where two vertical marks are used in a table of synonyms to repeat text.[2]

Bronzeware script, c. 825 BCE, showing "子二孫二寶用", where the small 二 ("two") is used as iteration marks in the phrase "子子孫孫寶用" ("descendants to use and to treasure").
Bronzeware script, c. 825 BCE, showing "寶用", where the small ("two") is used as iteration marks in the phrase "子子孫孫寶用" ("descendants to use and to treasure").

In China the corresponding historical mark was two horizontal lines (二), found in bronze script from the Zhou Dynasty, as in the example at right (circa 825 BCE). In script form this became 〻, and is now written as 々; see iteration mark.

The word ditto comes from the Tuscan language, where it is the past participle of the verb dire (to say), with the meaning of "said", as in the locution "the said story". The first recorded use of ditto with this meaning in English occurs in 1625.[3]

Shape

An advertisement from 1833. The second item on the list can be read as "Prime American Pork, in barrels", while the third is "Prime American Pork, in Half barrels".

The graphical shape of the ditto mark may vary according to different language uses. It is generally represented by a quotation mark pointing to the right. Therefore, it would be in English, » in French, in German, ╶‖╴ or » in Greek and so on. There is also a Unicode character U+3003 DITTO MARK in the range CJK Symbols and Punctuation. In English, the abbreviation do. is sometimes used.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  2. ^ K.4375 and File:Library of Ashurbanipal synonym list tablet.jpg
  3. ^ Definition at The Free Dictionary

External links

  • The dictionary definition of at Wiktionary