What Does [sic] Mean?
Samm [sic] asks “What does [sic] mean?”
Sic in square brackets is an editing term used with quotations or excerpts. It means “that’s really how it appears in the original.”
It is used to point out a grammatical error, misspelling, misstatement of fact, or, as above, the unconventional spelling of a name.
For example, you might want to quote the printed introduction to a college catalog:
Maple Leaf College is well-known for it’s [sic] high academic standards.
Sic is the Latin word for “thus,” or “such.”
When John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln and jumped from the balcony to the stage of Ford’s Theatre, he is said to have shouted “Sic semper tyrannis!” He meant “that’s what tyrants get;” literally, “Thus always to tyrants.”
Another common Latin expression you might come across is sic transit gloria mundi. It means “thus passes the glory of the world.” It’s a thought that might occur as one stands by a crumbling pyramid or where the Twin Towers once stood in New York City.
Where I grew up, people who wanted a dog to attack said “sic ’em!” I’ve seen it in a dictionary spelled “sick,” as in “sick him!” This use is first recorded in 1845 and may come from a dialectal version of seek, “to look for” or “to pursue.”
[sic] in newspapers
Bernheimer wrote: “Salonen isn’t one of those conductors who pretends ( sic ) not to read criticism.” And “Salonen is not one of those lofty musicians who believes ( sic ) that art can survive in a vacuum.” — LA Times
Neither does our president. In his first tweet as POTUS — posted at 11:57 a.m. on Jan. 21 — @realDonaldTrump tweeted, “I am honered [sic] to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” (He later deleted the message.) — LA Times
In the handwritten letter, Corbett writes to Bullock: “You could of (sic) had me today however you choose other people over me. I’ll be around as you know. I love you.” — USA Today
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