noun Chiefly British.
a smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M.
Also especially British, cer·iph.
Origin of serif
1835–45; perhaps < Dutch schreef line (in writing), akin to schrijven to write
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
printing a small line at the extremities of a main stroke in a type character
Word Origin for serif
C19: perhaps from Dutch schreef dash, probably of Germanic origin, compare Old High German screvōn to engrave
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
"lines at the top or bottom of a letter;" see sans-serif.
in typography, 1841, earlier ceref (1827); see sans-serif.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper