To a T

The idiom is to a T, not to a tee or to a tea.1 The origins of this expression are mysterious, but it might refer to the T-square, a drawing instrument used in drafting. It might also have to do with crossing one’s T’s, as in the expression dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Whatever its origins, the expression now means perfectly or exactly, and it usually takes a capital T. Some writers put quotation marks around the T, but this is unnecessary.

Examples

My gender has nothing to do with my frustration here: it’s 2011 and I am not Suzy Homemaker from 1952 who follows rigid gender roles to a T. [The Frisky]

It fits to a T the reform pledge that former Mayor Ed Koch circulated during the campaign – signed by 138 of the state’s 212 legislators. [New York Daily News]

[H]e seems like the kind of guy who would value life experience more than possessions, and at times that philosophy fits him to a T.  [Superbike Planet]

After finding out its definition, she decided the word fit her sixth-grade girls team to a T. [The Salem News]

External Links

To a T at The Phrase Finder

Reference

1. Double in the OED (subscription required)

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