AskDefine | Define font

Dictionary Definition



1 a specific size and style of type within a type family [syn: fount, typeface, face]
2 bowl for baptismal water [syn: baptismal font, baptistry, baptistery]

User Contributed Dictionary



Etymology 1

From font, from fons.


  1. A receptacle in a church for holy water - especially one used in baptism
  2. A receptacle for oil in a lamp.
a receptacle in church for holy water
  • Greek: κολυμπήθρα
a receptacle for oil in a lamp

Etymology 2

From fonte, feminine past participle of verb fondre: to melt.

Alternative spellings


  1. A set of glyphs of unified design, belonging to one typeface (e.g., Helvetica), style (e.g., italic), and weight (e.g., boldfaced). Usually representing the letters of an alphabet and its supplementary characters.
    1. In metal typesetting, a set of type sorts in one size.
    2. In phototypesetting, a set of patterns forming glyphs of any size, or the film they are stored on.
    3. In digital typesetting, a set of glyphs, possibly from multiple alphabets or writing systems, or the computer code representing it.
  2. A computer file containing the code used to draw and compose the glyphs of one or more typographic fonts on a computer display or printer. A font file.
(typesetting) a grouping of consistently-designed glyphs


  • Canadian Oxford 2004}}
  • Bringhurst, Robert (2002). The Elements of Typographic Style, version 2.5, pp 291–2. Vancouver, Hartley & Marks. ISBN 0-88179-133-4.

Etymology 3

Apparently from

Extensive Definition

In typography, a font (also fount) is traditionally defined as a complete character set of a single size of a particular typeface. For example, the set of all characters for 9 point Bulmer is a font, and the 10 point size would be another font.
Since the introduction of personal computers, a broader definition has evolved. The term font is now often used as a metonym for typeface.


The term font, a cognate of the word fondue, derives from Middle French fonte, meaning "(something that has been) melt(ed)", referring to type produced by casting molten metal at a type foundry. English-speaking printers have used the term fount for centuries to refer to the multi-part metal type used to assemble and print in a particular size and typeface.

See also


  • Blackwell, Lewis. 20th Century Type. Yale University Press: 2004. ISBN 0-300-10073-6.
  • Fiedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. ISBN 1-57912-023-7.
  • Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students, Princeton Architectural Press: 2004. ISBN 1-5689-8448-0.
  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. ISBN 0-300-11151-7.
font in French: Fonte de caractères
font in Russian: Фонт
font in Japanese: フォント

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

affusion, ascender, aspergation, aspersion, back, baptism, baptismal gown, baptismal regeneration, baptistery, baptizement, bastard type, beard, belly, bevel, black letter, body, bonanza, cap, capital, case, chalice, chrismal, chrismatory, christening, ciborium, cornucopia, counter, cruet, descender, em, en, face, fat-faced type, feet, flush, fount, fountain, fountainhead, geyser, gold mine, groove, gush, headspring, headstream, headwater, holy-water font, immersion, infusion, italic, jet, letter, ligature, lode, logotype, lower case, mainspring, majuscule, mine, minuscule, monstrance, nick, ostensorium, pi, pica, point, print, pyx, quarry, reliquary, resource, riverhead, roman, rush, sans serif, script, shank, shoulder, small cap, small capital, source, source of supply, spew, spit, spout, spouter, spray, spring, springhead, sprinkling, spritz, spurt, spurtle, squirt, stamp, staple, stem, total immersion, type, type body, type class, type lice, typecase, typeface, typefounders, typefoundry, upper case, vein, well, wellhead, wellspring
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1