dot the i's and cross the t's

Idioms & Phrases

dot the i's and cross the t's

Be meticulous and precise, fill in all the particulars, as in Laura had dotted all the i's and crossed the t's, so she wondered what she'd done wrong. This expression presumably began as an admonition to schoolchildren to write carefully and is sometimes shortened. William Makepeace Thackeray had it in a magazine article (Scribner's Magazine, 1849): "I have . . . dotted the i's." [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: dot
Next Definition: double
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for dot the i's and cross the t's
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing dot the i's and cross the t's
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature