Definition of "Viz"

What does viz. mean? The meaning of viz. derives from the Latin word videlicet which is translated into English as namely, that is, which is, as follows. You may encounter it in legal documents and technical writings, where it also means that is to say. After viz. you should expect to find further details, an explanation, an enumeration or several examples. 

Is viz. a real estate term? Since it might show up in the most important documents that are to be signed during the home-buying process, real estate lawyers and real estate agents may have to explain the meaning of viz. for both the home seller and the homebuyer. However, it is not a real estate term. Although it is an insignificant word, it may raise a question mark for those who are unfamiliar with formal writing. However, even if one doesn’t know the definition of viz., he or she will still understand the sentence because the meaning of this small abbreviation can be deduced from the context. 

The word viz. is only used in writing and the main goal is to save space. That’s why you may also find it in footnotes. Just like the similar Latin abbreviations e.g. and i.e., the word viz. is always followed by a period and should be separated by commas from the rest of the sentence like in the following examples:

Six countries have registered for this online competition, viz. China, Japan, Sout Korea, Italy, the U.S., and Canada. 

“(...) direct an examination of the candidate on the following branches, viz. orthography, reading, writing, English grammar, composition, geography, and arithmetic.” extracted from The Laws of Texas 1822-1897

The popularity of the word viz. has constantly declined over the years. So, don’t be surprised if you run into it in older documents or last wills, especially during probate. Nowadays, many linguists recommend using the other meanings of viz. instead. And unless you intend to sound strange, never use it in speech.

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