- It is an adverb and abbreviation meaning ‘namely’
- It comes from the Latin word videlicet. Wiktionary states that “the ‘z’ [in viz] was originally not a letter but a common Middle Latin scribal abbreviation that was used for -et“.
- When reading it in a sentence, you might read out ‘namely’ or ‘to wit’
- It can be followed by a full-stop
- Wikipedia states that viz. is “used to indicate a detailed description of something stated before”. This is in contrast to e.g. and i.e.
An example of its use
A rainbow has seven colours, viz. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
The use of Latin abbreviations
The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal explains that care should be taken when using Latin abbreviations. Will the reader know what you mean? It would be wise to think about your audience when using them.
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Little Red Writing Book by Brendon Royal, US (2004)