io·​ta | \ ī-ˈō-tə How to pronounce iota (audio) , 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

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Synonyms for iota


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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 Iowa State dictated the game in the Fiesta Bowl and didn’t deviate one iota from its identity to do so. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "10 takeaways from Oregon’s loss to Iowa State in Fiesta Bowl," 4 Jan. 2021 People enter Shaker’s, the Rift and Circle of Life Yoga, automatically fixing it on and no longer thinking one iota. cleveland, "A Christmas season like no other: Olmsted Dates and Data," 17 Dec. 2020 All of this leaves us not an iota closer to solving the mystery of who created the Utah sculpture. New York Times, "How a Mysterious Monolith Vanished Overnight (It Wasn’t Aliens)," 1 Dec. 2020 Kore-eda is honest about the limits of his characters’ lives, without sacrificing an iota of empathy, demonstrating how love can endure in the face of deep societal neglect. David Sims, The Atlantic, "20 of the Best Films About Family for the Holidays," 21 Nov. 2020 Yet the core identity and offensive philosophy of this team hasn’t changed an iota, despite the obvious schematic alterations. oregonlive, "13 takeaways from Oregon’s win at Washington State," 15 Nov. 2020 This megastructure—usually conceived of as a gigantic shell enclosing the sun, lined with mirrors or solar panels—is designed to collect every iota of a star's energetic output. Adam Hadhazy, Popular Mechanics, "Could We Build a Dyson Sphere?," 30 Oct. 2020 The observational challenges beget a borderline obsession with eliminating every iota of potential interference. Ryan Bradley, Popular Science, "Glimpse the gold mine where scientists are searching for dark matter," 27 Oct. 2020 Two presidential candidates presenting rival visions should be able to do so with at least an iota of dignity and decorum. Frank Bruni New York Times, Star Tribune, "After that fiasco, Biden should refuse to debate Trump again," 30 Sep. 2020

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.

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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

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Iota.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for iota



English Language Learners Definition of iota

: a very small amount


io·​ta | \ ī-ˈō-tə How to pronounce iota (audio) \

Kids Definition of iota

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

More from Merriam-Webster on iota

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for iota

Nglish: Translation of iota for Spanish Speakers

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