Type Glossary
Ampersand

Ampersand

A stylized character of the Latin et used to represent the word and. Definition: The typographic symbol used to designate the word and (& ) is the Latin symbol for et which means and. The name, ampersand , is believed to be derived from the phrase “and per se and.” On a standard English layout...
Aperture

Aperture

The partially enclosed, somewhat rounded negative space in some characters. Definition: The aperture is the partially enclosed, somewhat rounded negative space in some characters such as n, C, S, the lower part of e, or the upper part of a double-storey a. Also Known As: counter In typography, a counter or aperture is an area entirely or partially...
Apex

Apex

A point at the top of a character where two strokes meet. Definition: The point at the top of a character such as the uppercase A where the left and right strokes meet is the apex. The apex may be a sharp point, blunt, or rounded and is an identifying feature for some typefaces. Also...
Arc of Stem

Arc of Stem

A curved stroke that is continuous with a straight stem.
Arm

Arm

A horizontal or upward, sloping stroke that does not connect to a stroke or stem on one or both ends. Definition: The arm of a letter is the horizontal stroke on some characters that does not connect to a stroke or stem at one or both ends. The top of the capital T and the...
Ascender

Ascender

An upward vertical stroke found on the part of lowercase letters that extends above the typeface’s x-height. Definition: In typography, the upward vertical stem on some lowercase letters, such as h and b, that extends above the x-height is the ascender. The height of the ascenders is an identifying characteristic of many typefaces. The ascenders...
Ascender Line

Ascender Line

The invisible line marking the height of ascenders in a font.
Ascent Line

Ascent Line

The invisible line marking the farthest distance between the baseline and the top of the glyph.
Axis

Axis

An imaginary line drawn from top to bottom of a glyph bisecting the upper and lower strokes is the axis. Definition: An imaginary line drawn from top to bottom of a glyph bisecting the upper and lower strokes is the axis. For typefaces that exhibit changes in the thickness of curved strokes, the inclination of...
Ball Terminal

Ball Terminal

A circular form at the end of the arm in letters. Definition: In typography, the terminal is a type of curve. Many sources consider a terminal to be just the end (straight or curved) of any stroke that doesn’t include a serif (which can include serif fonts, such as the little stroke at the end...
Bar

Bar

The horizontal stroke in letters. Also referred to as Crossbar. Definition: The (usually) horizontal stroke across the middle of uppercase A and H is a bar. The horizontal or sloping stroke enclosing the bottom of the eye of an e is also a bar. Although often used interchangeably, the bar differs from an arm and...
Baseline

Baseline

The invisible line where all characters sit. Definition: In typography, the baseline is the imaginary line upon which a line of text rests. In most typefaces, the descenders on characters such as g or p extend down below the baseline while curved letters such as c or o extend ever-so-slightly below the baseline. The baseline...