dot the i's and cross the t's

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Alternative forms[edit]


In reference to cursive (joined up) writing, where adding the dot to the letter i and the crossbar to the letter t is done after one reaches the end of the word and thus may be forgotten if one is not being careful.



dot the i's and cross the t's (third-person singular simple present dots the i's and crosses the t's, present participle dotting the i's and crossing the t's, simple past and past participle dotted the i's and crossed the t's)

  1. (idiomatic) To take care of every detail, even minor ones; To be meticulous or thorough.
    Before taking the project to the CEO, let's make sure we dot the i's and cross the t's.
    • 1858, United States Congress, Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856, D. Appleton, page 387; from a January 1820 debate
      Pray, sir, what is the object of referring a bill to a committee —merely to dot the i's and cross the t's?


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