io·​ta | \ī-ˈō-tə, in sense 2 sometimes ē-ˈō-tə\

Definition of iota 

1 : an infinitesimal amount : jot did not show an iota of interest

2 : the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet — see Alphabet Table

Keep scrolling for more

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

And the party is fun and relaxing—beer is for sale, and there are card games and live music—but, honestly, the power of Ii-Epstein's fine play wouldn't be diminished one iota if the party were cut. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "Not One Batu feels torn directly from life," 5 July 2018 Once installed, a child seat impinges on only the last iota of front-seat travel for taller drivers. Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "2018 Honda Fit," 19 Jan. 2018 That kind of underlying approach to our gender doesn’t seem to me to have changed an iota. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Glenda Jackson, 82, on Sexism, Earning Your Wrinkles, and Cynthia Nixon's Run for Governor," 9 May 2018 Each iota of desire comes with the consequence of pain, and being a woman had me like a Hungry Ghost. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Pretty Girls Turned Hungry Ghosts," 27 Feb. 2018 This is also her first solo show in Los Angeles, and there’s not one iota of stage fright here. Vogue, "In L.A., Rachel Feinstein Finds Inspiration in the Victoria's Secret Runway Show," 13 Jan. 2018 Do Not: Watch any movie that has an iota of romance. Ellie Delano, Woman's Day, "How To Get Yourself Through Another Lonely Weekend," 15 Apr. 2013 Human nature hasn’t changed one iota over the millennia. WSJ, "Progressive States Pay More Than They Get," 14 Aug. 2017 The maligned front five of Cincinnati allowed Andy Dalton to take brutal hits, be sacked three more times and fail to muster an iota of push in the run game. Paul Dehner Jr.,, "Question mark grows on Bengals offensive line," 30 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'iota.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of iota

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for iota

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about iota

Listen to Our Podcast about iota

Dictionary Entries near iota





iota adscript

iota subscript


Statistics for iota

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for iota

The first known use of iota was in 1542

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for iota



English Language Learners Definition of iota

: a very small amount


io·​ta | \ī-ˈō-tə \

Kids Definition of iota

: a tiny amount I don't care an iota.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on iota

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
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!