What Does Ditto Mean?

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What Does Ditto Mean?
Language is dynamic and as such changes and grows with time. There are many influences on the languages we use. Some of them are internal influences such as slang which involves the coining of new words that become an informal part of the language. Other influences are external such as when foreigners come and introduce something new that previous did not exist in our culture. Something new which already has a name in another language is often adopted along with its name. There are also others who begin to use a word or phrase from a foreign language as a means of encoding a message, with time these becomes known to a majority in society and with wide spread use may end up becoming part of the language.

The origins of the word ditto are known to be Italian. Some even claim that the original term which is thought to be ‘dictus’, meaning ‘having been said’ was in use during the times of the Roman Empire. The first time the term ditto was used in the English language is recorded as being around 1625. The meaning at the time is not very clear and it may have been closely related with the Italian meaning of the word. Later the word ditto was used to refer to copy or duplicate with the first time of this use being recorded some time in 1818. This meaning has largely remained up to this day. Ditto is today a trademark for a duplicating machine.

Ditto is symbolized by the use of two apostrophes. The ditto mark is used where something needs to be repeated. This is often used in lists which have several repeated words which can be represented by the ditto mark. The first sentence will be written in full while those that follow will have the ditto marks in place of the repeated words. An example of this is given below.

Compaq computer with monitor and accessories’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦. $200
Dell      ‘         ‘           ‘        ‘           ‘     ‘¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦… $230
Toshiba      ‘         ‘           ‘        ‘           ‘     ‘¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦’¦… $235

The ditto mark is used to make it easier and faster to write out a list that has repetitions such as above. It is very important to remember that in most countries, the use of ditto marks in legal documents is forbidden.

The word ditto has also been adopted in English slang to mean ‘me too’ or ‘same here’. It is a term that is used by those speaking slang to expresses agreement. This is usually used in informal conversation between peers or individuals who engage in non formal verbal communication. Just like the other terms that are used in slang, the term is almost never used in written communication whether formal or informal. It also has several other meanings which mostly relate with agreement to what is said or proposed though some of the meanings may refer to other things. Both in formal language as well as slang the term ditto and ditto marks are frequently used by English speakers as well as some non English speakers.

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