Weekend Word Wrap

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I thought I'd turn to the physical today and look at word fonts. Well, not so much the actual fonts themselves (because let's face it, we'd be here all blog), but the word, font.

Our English word has its roots not in the Old English font, which comes from the Latin word for "fountain," but the Middle French fonte, which means "melted" (what I'm feeling right now in this dreadful Los Angeles heat wave!).

But why melted? Because originally, typefaces were not available in convenient drop-down windows, but rather cast from molten metal. In the 1450s, when the invention of moveable type came along, they were cast from an alloy of lead, antimony, and tin.

For hundreds of years, the English-speaking world used the spelling fount, which we in the States eventually changed to font. Just as we lost the "u" their colour. (Sorry Brits!)

Thanks to computers, the American spelling is now generally accepted as the universal word for typeface.

As for the fonts themselves, check out this cool site where you can make a font from your own handwriting! Link via our reader, Marcy.

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July 28, 2006 - 10:31am
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