A dele or deleatur (/ˌdiːliːˈeɪtɚ/) is a proofreading symbol used to mark something for deletion.
is the more common term in modern American English
, likely coming from the imperative form of the Latin delere
("to delete"), and can also be used as a verb, e.g. "Dele that graph
." The Oxford English Dictionary
notes, however, that dele
as an English word may instead have arisen as an abbreviation for the older word deleatur
(lit. "let it be deleted"), and in German
, for example, deleatur
is still the word for this symbol.
The origin of the symbol appears to be an archaic letter d
, as an abbreviation for dele
, though it bears little resemblance to a modern d. Compare the markedly similar (if not identical in some cases) symbol for the German penny
, which is also an archaic d (for denarius
). As with most hand-written letters and symbols, its appearance is rather variable.
The dele is used in proofreading and copy editing
, where it may be written over the selected text itself (such that it often resembles a stretched cursive e), or in the margin alongside the selected text, which is usually struck through with a line.
The stricken text or the dele itself may be framed by top and bottom curved brackets, as in this example, to indicate that the space left after deletion is to be closed up. As the need for such closing up can usually be inferred by context, however, the brackets are often omitted.
A dele can be undone with a stet.