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Viz.

In English, viz. means that is or namely. It’s used in legal and technical writing as well as in footnotes of books because it saves space. Elsewhere it is unpronounceable, so it should give way a more familiar alternative.

Viz. is short for the Latin loanword videlicet (meaning, literally, it is permitted to see). As with the abbreviations e.g. and i.e., viz. is followed by a period and should be set off from the surrounding sentence by commas.

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Examples

This World Cup is seen to be contested between only six major competitors, viz. India, Australia, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. [iSport.in]

Now, Payanam, which is to roll out of the Prakash Raj stable soon, is again on a subject Radha hasn’t handled before, viz., airline hijack. [The Hindu]

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Comments

  1. Isn’t there a big difference between ‘that is’ and ‘namely’? The former signifies equivalence, the latter specifies what went before. In other words, one could theoretically reverse what comes before and after ‘that is’, but with ‘namely’ that makes no sense at all. Or so I thought at least…

  2. The text says it should be set off by commas but in one of the purportedly correct examples it isn’t.

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