DescenderThe part of the letters that extends below the baseline.

Definition: The portion of some lowercase letters, such as g and y, that extends or descends below the baseline is the descender. The length and shape of the descender can affect readability of lines of type and is an identifying factor for some typefaces.

The descenders of some letters may touch or almost touch letters in the line below causing awkward or distracting patterns. This is most likely to happen or be obvious when a line of text with long descenders is above a line of text with tall ascenders and capital letters. Some solutions include: Increase the leading (line spacing) between lines of type; Choose a different typeface; For headlines and subheads, some careful editing/re-wording can eliminate the problem; Changing the alignment of the text may also help.

Also Known As: extender, tail, loop

In typography, a descender is the portion of a letter in a Latin alphabet that extends below the baseline of a font.

For example, in the letter y, the descender would be the “tail,” or that portion of the diagonal line which lies below the v created by the two lines converging. In the letter p at right, it is the stem reaching down past the o.

In most fonts, descenders are reserved for lowercase characters such as g, j, q, p, and y. Some fonts, however, also use descenders for some numerals (typically 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9). Such numerals are called old-style numerals. (Some italic fonts, such as Computer Modern italic, put a descender on the numeral 4 but not on any other numerals. Such fonts are not considered old-style.) Some fonts also use descenders for the tails on a few uppercase letters such as J and Q.

The parts of characters that extend above the x-height of a font are called ascenders.

the part of a lowercase letter (as p) that descends below the main body of the letter; also : a letter that has such a part