abbreviation (1)

Definition of i.e.

 (Entry 1 of 3)

that is


abbreviation (2)

Definition of IE (Entry 2 of 3)

industrial engineer
variants: or less commonly -y

Definition of -ie (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : little one : dear little one birdie sonny
2a : one belonging to : one having to do with townie
b : one who is preemie
3 : one of (such) a kind or quality cutie toughie

What is the difference between the abbreviations i.e. and e.g.?

The most looked up abbreviations in our online dictionary are i.e. and e.g., probably because they are often confused for one another.

Both of these are abbreviations of Latin expressions: i.e. stands for id est, which means “that is” in Latin. It introduces a rewording or a clarification of a statement that has just been made or of a word that has just been used, such as:

The cough may last for a short period of time—i.e., three to five days.

E.g. stands for exempli gratia in Latin, which means “for example.” It introduces one or more examples that illustrate something stated, such as:

Submit a sample of academic writing—e.g., a dissertation chapter.

Because their usage can seem similar, these abbreviations are often confused. One trick to keeping them straight is to remember that i.e. and that is both share an i and that example and e.g. both share an e.

You can also try substituting the English for the abbreviation to check:

The cough may last for a short period of time—that is three to five days.

Submit a sample of academic writing—for example, a dissertation chapter.

Another frequently seen Latin abbreviation is et al., which means “and others.” It is usually styled with a period, because the Latin words that it stands for have different possible endings, and et al. is the root: et alii (masculine), et aliae (feminine), and et alia (neuter). Since English nouns don’t have grammatical gender, et al. makes for an all-inclusive version of “and others.”

History and Etymology for i.e.

Abbreviation (1)

Latin id est

Noun suffix

Middle English

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about i.e.

Dictionary Entries near i.e.








Statistics for i.e.

Look-up Popularity

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for i.e.

English Language Learners Definition of -ie

: little one : dear little one
: someone or something that is
: someone belonging to : someone having to do with

Kids Definition of i.e.

that is
Hint: The abbreviation i.e. is short for the Latin phrase id est, meaning “that is.”
variants: also -y \ ē \
plural -ies

Kids Definition of -ie

: little one lassie

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on i.e.

Spanish Central: Translation of i.e.

Nglish: Translation of i.e. for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of i.e. for Arabic Speakers

Comments on i.e.

What made you want to look up i.e.? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!