io·​ta ī-ˈō-tə How to pronounce iota (audio)
 in sense 2 sometimes  ē-ˈō-tə
: an infinitesimal amount : jot
did not show an iota of interest
: the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet see Alphabet Table

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Iota and Jot

The words iota and jot share a lot more than just a common meaning—both ultimately derive from the same word. When Latin scholars transcribed the Greek name of the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet, they spelled it as either iota or jota (the letters i and j were simply variants of each other), and these spellings eventually passed into English as iota and jot. Since the Greek letter iota is the smallest letter of its alphabet, both words eventually came to be used in reference to very small things.

Examples of iota in a Sentence

there's not an iota of doubt regarding the defendant's guilt
Recent Examples on the Web Sorry, Supes fans, but the time travel here doesn’t make the tiniest iota of sense. Jennifer Ouellette and Sean M. Carroll, Ars Technica, 24 Nov. 2023 The lack of response has not deterred him one iota. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2023 Hamas is not looking out for, caring one iota about their welfare and well- being. CBS News, 15 Oct. 2023 Some things, of course, will not change, and this year’s intro is only an iota less cringe than the Billy Ray Cyrus tribute that opened 2021. James Hansen, Bon Appétit, 28 Sep. 2023 A little offense en route — just like on Saturday night — would hurt them not one iota, either. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Nov. 2022 The tragedy is that reality does not care one iota for our vainglorious beliefs. David Robert Grimes, Scientific American, 1 Sep. 2023 People have built entire careers on stating, with utmost confidence, that one pizzeria’s strikingly good slice is two iotas closer than another’s to the Platonic ideal. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 27 Aug. 2023 The user of the generative AI doesn’t need to presumably know one iota about data science. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 17 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'iota.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, from Greek iōta, of Semitic origin; akin to Hebrew yōdh yod

First Known Use

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of iota was in 1542


Dictionary Entries Near iota

Cite this Entry

“Iota.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


io·​ta ī-ˈōt-ə How to pronounce iota (audio)
: the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet
Ι or ι
: a tiny amount : jot
didn't show an iota of interest

More from Merriam-Webster on iota

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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