Ok, this came up at work today, and after many google searches, and several checks or regular and online dictionaries, we’re still stumped.
What are the origins of the word font (as in letters and type faces, not a baptismal bucket…hehe). Where did the word come from, and how long has it been around.
If you can answer these questions, there’s a box of smarties in it for ya
did you try
[French fonte, casting, from Old French (from Vulgar Latin *fundita, from Late Latin, feminine of *funditus, past participle of Latin fundere, to pour forth. See fondant), or from Old French fondre, to melt (from Latin fundere).]
It looks like it’s from a 17th century French word for
casting. Before the advent of computer fonts, typefaces were cast in metal.
Apparently one of the advantages of being a
Manduck is the ability to post faster than me…
Yes, I checked
Dictionary.com, but didn’t get the importance of the “casting” reference. Thanks guys, that makes perfect sense, about the typefaces being cast in metal. One of my google searches ended with me reading a page about the history of the various types (no pun intended) of printing presses, but again, didn’t match that up with the French “Casting” reference in the dictionary.
Love your work
ps… now all we need to find out is who coined the term “font”, and in what year…hehe.
With the coming of computer word processing, the defintion of
font has changed. Previously, it meant one aspect of a typeface: regular, italic, bold, small caps, etc.
Times, Times italic, Times bold, Times bold extended, Times small caps — these were all separate fonts.
font means a typeface with all its variations.
1683 is the first one recorded in the OED, but the usage suggests that it was already a common term amongst printers.
A complete set or assortment of type of a particular face and size. Also fully, fount of letter or type.
1683 MOXON Printing No. II. 2. 13 A Fount (properly a Fund) of Letter of all Bodies. Ibid. No. XXIII. 377 Fount is the whole number of Letters that are Cast of the same Body and Face at one time. 1687-8 BOYLE Let. 5 Mar. in Birch Life 417, I caused a font of Irish letters to be cast. 1714 MANDEVILLE Fab. Bees (1725) I. 258 Break down the printing-presses, melt the founds. 1771 P. LUCKOMBE Hist. Print. 248 A Complete Fount of Letter. 1834 SOUTHEY Doctor I. ii. 27 We discussed the merits of a new font. 1862 BURTON Bk. Hunter 76 The largest font of Italics possessed by the establishment. 1878 F. S. WILLIAMS Midl. Railw. 630 He set up a complete fount of type.