# The abbreviation "viz."

The word viz. that is often met in English texts, is an abbreviation for videlicet, a latin word meaning namely or as follows. It is constructed from the first letters vi and an symbol for the suffix -et. So where comes the z from? Originally, the suffix was abbreviated using a medieval tironian symbol that looks like that: ⁊. It has unicode U+204A. The z is used because of the limitations of old typewriters. I haven't found anything useful so far to use it in LaTeX. This link states that there is nothing in LaTeX for U+204A. Does anyone know how to use the original symbol in a document?

• check if you find it with detexify.kirelabs.org/classify.html Jun 3, 2014 at 12:30
• Linux Libertine O (the OpenType font) has it. Jun 3, 2014 at 12:31
• I don't think this has anything to do with typewriters. Typewriters didn't become common until the end of the 19th century, and if they are the culprit here, then you'd expect to see ⁊ a lot in typeset books from before the 20th century. I don't think I've seen it at all, actually. Jun 3, 2014 at 13:43
• @Sverre. Actually, the mentioned wikipedia page states that this symbol is still in use in Ireland and in Scotland and that it was used in german books throughout the 19th century. Jun 3, 2014 at 13:53
• @DavidRicherby. Yes you are right. My question was merely motivated by curiosity. Jun 3, 2014 at 15:07

Done with XeLaTeX. Of course, you can pick a different UNICODE font available to you.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{Segoe UI Symbol}
\begin{document}
vi\symbol{"204A}
\end{document}


• @V.Rossetto I had practice yesterday with a related answer. At that answer, tex.stackexchange.com/questions/182814/…, egreg suggested the FreeSerif font as an alternative, as well. Jun 3, 2014 at 12:30

Just in order to show the other mentioned fonts:

% arara: lualatex

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\newcommand{\vizF}{vi{\setmainfont{FreeSerif}\symbol{"204A}}}
\newcommand{\vizL}{vi{\setmainfont{Linux Libertine O}\symbol{"204A}}}

\begin{document}
\noindent\vizF{},\\ \vizL{},\\ viz.
\end{document}


Another version could be \newcommand{\vizD}{vi{\setmainfont{DejaVu Sans}\symbol{"204A}}} but that looks to ugly to do a screen shot.

• If one wants to typeset early characters, Junicode is one of the best fonts. See MUFI for additional information about typesetting medieval texts. Dec 8, 2014 at 23:58