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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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 None of this, frankly, makes an iota of sense, even in suspend-your-disbelief terms, with the result that Portals is much more frustrating than chilling. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Portals': Film Review," 24 Oct. 2019 The average sale price for condos, which are only an iota of the local real estate market, dipped 8.9% to $138,679. Michelle Jarboe, cleveland, "Northeast Ohio home sales rose in 2019 — and so did prices," 22 Jan. 2020 When the four best teams in the NFL face off this weekend, the other 28 teams will be paying close attention in an attempt to glean any iota of information that can help them be more successful in the future. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 potential Cowboys free-agent targets who are playing for AFC and NFC championships," 17 Jan. 2020 The biggest wild card for stocks recently has been trade, though, and markets have been swinging on every iota of progress in talks between Washington and Beijing., "The S&P 500 slipped 3.44 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,132.52. It earlier swung between a gain of 0.2 percent and a loss of 0.3 percent.," 11 Dec. 2019 The puritanical persecution of witches — Salem’s claim to fame — are a slim iota of wrongdoing next to the global pillaging of the Western mercantile class throughout America’s early years., "At expanded Peabody Essex Museum, a new director strives to put people over things - The Boston Globe," 27 Sep. 2019 There isn't an iota of doubt that vaccines are an overwhelmingly safe and effective way to prevent measles and other diseases, including mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis and pertussis. The Editors, Scientific American, "The U.S. Should Tighten Vaccination Mandates," 17 Oct. 2019 We, the users, needed only to exercise an iota of empathy or logic to understand that behind every life style was, of course, a complicated life. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the “Getting Real” Post on Instagram," 1 Oct. 2019 While those issues could’ve been avoided with even an iota of effort in an offseason that Cleveland essentially threw away, this is just about the only sensible return if moving Bauer had to happen. Jon Tayler,, "Indians Come Out Surprisingly Well in Trevor Bauer Trade," 31 July 2019

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

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Iota.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for iota


How to pronounce iota (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on iota

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for iota

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with iota

Spanish Central: Translation of iota

Nglish: Translation of iota for Spanish Speakers

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