This word which now means “the same thing happened to me”, or “I agree” goes back to the Italian detto (said) and was first used in the various travel documents and reports that were put together by Purchas. In his Pilgrims which came out in 1625, there is a reference to the previous month “The eight and twentieth ditto, I went to the general’s tent”. The first time it appeared in the more general sense was in a dictionary, a later edition of the famous best-selling dictionary of the 1600s, Phillips The New World of Words. We described this in the blog War of the Words. There he writes just like I did: Ditto (Italian, said) a word used much in merchant accounts and relation of foreign news; and signifieth the same place”.
” is the symbol used for ditto. It indicates that the word, expression of phrase which has just been used is to be repeated.
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