I’ve learned over the years that folks love the “Word Nerd” posts on the ol’ PG. The copy editing post was a big hit, for example.
Well, kids, it’s a Word Nerd Day. And it’s a good one, too.
I came across an abbreviation a couple weeks ago while (re)reading P.G. Wodehouse’s “Joy In the Morning” for the humor writing class I’m teaching. I’ll put the sentence in below; all you need to know for context is that it’s the incomparable (and incomparably funny) Bertram “Bertie” Wooster speaking:
… it had naturally seemed that the end of the world had come and Judgement Day set in with unusual severity. But to me, the cool and level-headed bystander, the whole thing had been pure routine. One shrugged the shoulders and recognized it for what it was — viz. pure apple sauce.
Viz! Do you know this one?? I didn’t, but when I saw it, I decided that if P.G. Wodehouse used it, I must start using it, too, and liberally. Here’s the definition:
viz. | viz |
adverb chiefly British
namely; in other words (used to introduce a gloss or explanation): the first music reproducing media, viz., the music box and the player piano. Latin, from videre “to see” + licet “it is permissible.”
Thinking through this “viz” biz, I’m now aware that I’ve been using “i.e.” when I should probably be using viz.
In case you need a refresher, “i.e.” means “that is to say.” It’s used to add explanatory information or to state something in different words, e.g., “I love going on spa retreats, i.e., spending hundreds of dollars to have someone smack me with kelp leaves while I pretend that the quinoa patty I ate for lunch was totally satisfying and also I am trying not to get cucumber water in my eyeballs.”[See what I did with the “e.g.” up there? Because “e.g.” means “for example”! I know. There are so many of those and now there’s viz.]
Here are some sentences where I practice using viz.
PRACTICE SENTENCE NO. 1
The main point of Mary’s lecture, viz. that caramel should be a food group, was misunderstood.
PRACTICE SENTENCE NO. 2
Several of Santa’s reindeer, viz. Dasher, Blitzen, and Donner, were total jerks.
PRACTICE SENTENCE NO. 3
But the hobo had one obvious problem, viz. he was wearing a tin can for a hat.
Okay, now you practice. Well, if you want. Practice using viz. if you’re a Word Nerd like me. (And if you’re reading this, you totally are, even if you didn’t know that about yourself.)