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 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 And at Georgetown, which seems to hit a new record-low acceptance rate each year, every iota of information could help. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Fine Line Campus Tour Guides Walk—Backwards," 29 Aug. 2019 For a guy with a job that almost no one on the planet has, Denny is shockingly dull, and Ventimiglia fails to vest him with even an iota of personality. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Art of Racing in the Rain," 8 Aug. 2019 There isn’t an iota of doubt that vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent many diseases. The Scientific American Staff, Scientific American, "The U.S. Needs To Tighten Vaccination Mandates," 24 June 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

27 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Iota.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 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

Comments on iota

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out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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