sci·​li·​cet ˈskē-li-ˌket How to pronounce scilicet (audio)
: that is to say : specifically, namely
abbreviation ss

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Scilicet is a rare word that most often occurs in legal proceedings and instruments. It is from Latin scire ("to know") and licet ("it is permitted"), which is also a root of videlicet—a synonym of scilicet. Licet, in turn, descends from the Latin verb licēre, which means "to be permitted" and is the ultimate source of the English words leisure, by way of the Anglo-French leisir ("to be permitted"), and license, which comes to us through Anglo-French from the Latin licens, the present participle of licēre. Scire has also made other contributions to English, giving us such words as conscience, conscious, and science.

Examples of scilicet in a Sentence

the journal cites the spot, scilicet present-day Provincetown, as the location of the Pilgrims' first landfall

Word History


borrowed from Latin scīlicet "one may be sure that, it is clear that, as is apparent, to be sure, doubtless," from scī-, stem of sciō, scīre "to know" + licet "it is permitted," 3rd singular present indicative of licēre "to be permitted" — more at science, license entry 1

Note: It is usually assumed that scī- is contracted from the infinitive scīre. Ernout and Meillet (Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue latine), however, regard the early construal of scīlicet with an infinitive and accusative subject (in Plautus), as if scī- implied scīre, as a case of etymological reanalysis ("recomposition étymologique"). Compare īlicet "you may go, off with you," vidēlicet "it is plain to see, evidently, plainly" (see videlicet).

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scilicet was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near scilicet

Cite this Entry

“Scilicet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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