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Abrupt Serif A serif which breaks suddenly from the stem at an angle.
Adnate Serif A serif which flows smoothly to or from the stem, also known as a bracked serif.
Agate A type size commonly used for classified advertising in newspapers and magazines. There are 14 agate lines to the inch.
Ampersand A mark derived from the Roman et, meaning "and", used in place of and in titles of businesses. The creation of the ampersand invites typographic play and personal expression in type design.
Analphabetic A typographical character used with the alphabet but lacking a place in the alphabetical order. Examples: the acute accent, the umlaut, the circumflex, and the asterisk.
Antiqua German for Roman: Post Antiqua would be called Post Roman in English.
Apex The peak of the triangle of an uppercase A.
Arm A projecting horizontal stroke that is unattached on one or both ends, as in the letters T and E.
Ascender The part of some lower-case letters, such as a "b" or a "d" which rises above the x height.
Axis The real or imaginary straight line on which a letterform rotates.

Ball Terminal A circular form at the end of the arm in letters such as a, c, f, j, r, and y. Examples of faces which use ball terminals are Bodoni and Clarendon.
Baseline The line on which letterforms rest. (Round letters like "e" and "o" normally dent it, pointed letters like "v" and "w" normally pierce it, and letters with foot serifs like "h" and "l" usually rest precisely upon it.)
Beak Terminal A sharp spur, found particularly on the f, and also often on a, c, j, r, and y in many 20th century Romans. (Examples: Perpetua, Pontifex, Ignatius.)
Bicameral A bicameral alphabet has two alphabets joined. The Latin alphabet, which you are reading, is an example; it has an upper and lower case. Unicameral alphabets (the Arabic and Hebrew alphabets) only have one case.
Blackletter A general name for a wide variety of letterforms that stem from the north of Europe. Blackletters are generally tall, narrow, and pointed. In architecture, comparable to the gothic style.
Body size  The height of the face of the type. Originally, this meant the height of the face of the metal block on which each individual letter was cast. In digital type, it is the height of its imaginary equivalent, the rectangle defining the space owned by a given letter (different from the dimension of the letter itself).
Bowl The generally round or elliptical forms which are the basic body shape of letters such as (uppercase) C, G, O, and (lowercase) b, c, e, o, and p. Similar to the space known as an "eye".

Cap Height The distance from baseline to cap line of an alphabet, which is the approximate height of the uppercase letters. It is often less, but sometimes greater, than the height of the ascending lowercase letters.
Carding A method of vertical justification that places extra white space equally between all lines on a page.
Cedilla Ç The accent, used primarily in French, to soften the letter C.
Character Width The horizontal dimension of a character, including its assigned white space on both sides.
Chase Rectangular frame used to lock lines of metal type into position in letterpress use.
Cicero A unit of measurement used to measure typefaces. It is equal to 12 Didot points, the slightly larger continental European counterpart to the American and British point.
Classical type style Letterforms having vertical axis, adnate serifs, teardrop terminals and moderate aperture. Originated in the 18th century.
Color The visual tone or texture created by a block or type on the background of a page. Type selection, line length, leading, x-height, word and character spacing all affect color.
Counter The white space enclosed by a letterform, whether wholly enclosed (as in "d" or "o") or partially (as in "c" or "m").

Descender The part of some lower-case letters, such as a "g" or a "q" which drop below the baseline.
Diaresis The accent used to separate the pronunciation of two consecutive vowels, as in coördinating. Similar to the umlaut.
Dingbat A typographical character subject to scorn because it has no apparent relation to the alphabet. Many dingbats are tiny pictures or more abstract symbols.
Display Type General term for type set larger than surrounding text as in headings or advertisements. Usually 14-point or larger.
Double storey Seen in the lower case "g" with the closed tail and lower case upright finial "a".
Drop Cap A large initial capital in a paragraph that extends through several lines.
Drop Folio A folio (page number) dropped to the foot of the page when the folios on other pages are carried at the top. Drop folios are often used on chapter openings.

Ear A small stroke that projects from the upper right side of the bowl of the lowercase roman g.
Egyptian type style Letterforms having square serifs and almost uniform thickness of strokes.
Em space A distance equal to the type size - 12 points in a 12 point typeface, 11 points in an 11 point typeface and so on. Also known as a "mutton".
emdash a dash the width of the letter "m" used in text to separate a parenthetical note as an alternate to parenthesis.
En space Half an em. Also known as a "nut".
Extender Descenders and ascender; i.e., the parts of the letterform that extend below the baseline (p, q) or above it (b, d).
Eye The enclosed part of the lowercase e.

Font A set of characters. In the world of metal type, this means a given alphabet, with all its accessory characters, in a given size. In the world of digital type, it is the character set itself or the digital information encoding it.
French Spacing Text composed without a second space after a period in a sentance to create tight spacing.
Furniture Small blocks of wood of various sizes, rectangular in shape, used in conjunction with a quoin to lock your hand-set or machine-set lines of metal type within a chase.

Galley A sheet containing a proof of unpaginated type composition.
Greeking The use of gray bars or "dummy" characters to represent text that is too small to be legible when displayed on the screen. Also, in graphic design, the use of dummy text in a layout so that the design of the document will be emphasized rather than its content.
Grotesk Another way to describe letters without serifs.

Hairline The thinnest strokes within a typefacewhich has strokes of varying weight.
Hinting The process of defining outlines for digital type when resolution is low or sizes are small.
Humanist type style Letterforms which originate from the humanists of the Italian Renaissance. There are two kinds of humanist letterforms: roman (based on Carolingian script) and italic (first appearing in the 15th century). Humanist letterforms show the clear trace of a broad-nib pen held by a right-handed scribe.

International Typographic Style Typographers and designers based their designs on mathematical grids. ITS felt that the sans serif type faces were the thing of the future.
Italic A class of letterforms more cursive than roman but less cursive than script. It was originally designed to replicate handwriting.
ISO International Organization for Standardization, headquartered in Geneva. an agency for international cooperation on industrial and scientific standards.
Italic A class of letterforms more cursive than roman but less cursive than script. It was originally designed to replicate handwriting.

Jaggies The stepped effect of bit-mapped type and graphics caused when square pixels represent diagonal or curved lines.

Kern (n.) Part of a letter that extends into the space of another.
Kern (v.) To alter the fit of certain letter combinations so that the limb of one projects over or under the body or limb of another.

Lachrymal terminal see teardrop terminal
Leading (rhymes with sledding) Originally a horizontal strip of soft metal (such as lead) used for vertical spacing between lines of type. Now meaning the vertical distance, negative or positive, of the baseline of one line to the baseline of the next from a solid setting.
Leg The lower diagonal stroke of the letter k.
Ligature Two or more letters tied into a single character to perfectly design their spatial interaction.
Link The stroke that connects the bowl and the loop of a lowercase roman g.
Lowercase Noncapital letters such as a, b, c, etc. Derived from the practice of placing these letters in the bottom (lower) case of a pair of typecases.

majuscule Archaic term for an uppercase letter, see also minuscule
Matrix The copper block onto which the steel die for a letter was stamped. The matrix served as the mold for the face of a type or for a printing plate.
Meanline An imaginary line that establishes the height of the body of lowercase letters.
minuscule Archaic term for a lowercase letter, see also majuscule.
Modern type style Letterforms with flat serifs, abrupt and exaggerated strokes, and vertical shading. Originated by Francois Didot in the late 18th century, this style represented a casting away of the decorative baggage of the rococo era.
Monotype A typeface design with uniform stroke thickness, examples include: Bernal, Courier and Kaufmann.

Negative Leading A type specification in which there is less space from baseline to baseline than the size of the type itself (for example, 40-point type with 38-point leading).
Negative Letterspacing A type specification in which the space between characters is reduced beyond the default setting either by kerning or tracking.
Nonbreaking Space In typesetting, a special space character placed between two words to keep the words from being separated by a line break.

Oblique A text style created by slanting a roman font to simulate italics.
Offset Lithography The most common commercial printing process in which the ink is offset from the plate to a rubber blanket cylinder before being transferred to the paper.
Old Style Dating from the 1490s, old style letter forms have the weight stress of the rounded forms at an angle. The serifs are bracketed by a tapered curved line. The top serifs on the lowercase letters are at an angle.
Orphan A single word that is left over on the last line at end of paragraph. Alternatively, a single word or line from the beginning of a paragraph left at the bottom of a column or page, with the remainder on the next column or page.

Pica A unit of measurement used to measure typefaces. It equals 12 points, which is approximately 1/6 of an inch.
Point A unit of measurement used to measure typefaces. It equals one twelfth of a pica, which is .3515 mm, or .01383 of an inch. There are 72 points per inch.
Printer's Devil Modern Day "Apprentice", i.e., in the 1700s and 1800s in order to become a Journeyman Printer one started as a "Printer's Devil." An unpaid assistant who was given room and board (typically in the shop itself). His tasks were to keep the shop clean, clean all the presses, clean the hand type with kerosene and perform all duties requested by the journeyman printer.
Punch The metal tool which is source for a block of type. When "punched" against a piece of hot metal, the convex carving of a letter on the punch leaves the impression of that letter.

Quoin A small wedge, usually of wood, used for tightening or locking up forms or galleys in pre-electronic printing.
Quoin key A metal Key used to tighten wedge shaped wood quoins to brace and secure pages of type in preparation to be printed.

Roman type style Letterforms which have vertical stems (as distinct from italic or oblique, which are set at an angle).

Sans serif Letterforms without serifs, generally with a straightforward, geometric appearance.
Serif A stroke added to the beginning or end of one of the main strokes of a letter.
Shoulder A curved stroke projecting from a stem.
Slab Serif An abrupt or adnate serif of the same thickness as the main stroke. Slab serifs are a hallmark of the egyptian and clarendon types. (Examples: Memphis, Rockwell, Serifa)
Slope The angle of inclination of the stems and extenders. of letters. (Ex: Most italics slope to the right between 2 and 20 degrees.)
Slug Character designed to to show paragraph breaks in close set type.
Spine The central curved stroke of the letter S.
Spur A projection smaller than a serif that reinforces the point at the end of a curved stroke, as in the capital letter G.
Stem A main stroke that is more or less straight, not part of a bowl. Ex: the letter "o" has no stem, and the letter "l" consists of a stem alone.
Squared Serif a font or type having serifs with a weight equal or greater then that of the main strokes

Teardrop Terminal A swelling which resembles a teardrop at the end of the arm in letters such as a,c, f, g, and y. (Examples of fonts which incorporate teardrop terminals are Caslon, Galliard, and Baskerville.)
Tracking verb Adjusting the letterspacing and wordspacing of a range of characters by the same amount. This is in addition to any kerning adjustments made.
Transitional The thick and thin strokes of the letter forms are of greater contrast than in Old Style faces. The characters are usually wider than Old Style letters.
Typeface The raised surface carrying the image of a type character cast in metal. Also used to refer to a complete set of characters forming a family in a particular design or style.

Uncial A bookhand used from the fourth to the eighth centuries in Latin and Greek manuscripts.
Uppercase Capital letters such as A, B, C, etc. Derived from the practice of placing these letters in the top (upper) case of a pair of typecases by printers when laying out text.

Virgule A diagonal slash or solidus (/).

Whiteletter The generally light roman and italic letterforms favored by humanist scribes and typographers in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. In architecture, comparable to the romanesque style.
Widow The final line of a paragraph that is left over onto the top of the next column.

x-height The distance between the baseline and the midline of an alphabet, normally the approximate height of the unextended lowercase letters (a, c, e, m, n...).