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black letter

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noun Printing.
  1. a heavy-faced type in a style like that of early European hand lettering and the earliest printed books. blakltr.png
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Origin of black letter

First recorded in 1630–40
Also called text.
Related formsblack-let·ter, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for black letter

Historical Examples

  • Then a black-letter Bible was brought him, and he read it all to himself at a side-table.

    Put Yourself in His Place

    Charles Reade

  • Roman type, unlike the black-letter, had two distinct origins.

    Printing and the Renaissance

    John Rothwell Slater

  • I do so on the assumption that "Ihon Day" is the Day of black-letter rarity.

  • This ballad was given from a black-letter copy in the Pepys collection.

  • Black-letter, precedents, and technicalities he cared little for.

    Bits of Blarney

    R. Shelton Mackenzie


British Dictionary definitions for black letter

black letter

noun
  1. printing another name for Gothic (def. 10)
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for black letter

early 17c., from black (adj.); so called to distinguish heavy, old-style printers' types from the ones coming into use then, which are the dominant modern forms, though a style of black letter was preserved in German into 20c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper