• synonyms


[ ih-tal-ik, ahy-tal- ]
/ ɪˈtæl ɪk, aɪˈtæl- /


designating or pertaining to a style of printing types in which the letters usually slope to the right, patterned upon a compact manuscript hand, and used for emphasis, to separate different kinds of information, etc.: These words are in italic type.
(initial capital letter) of or relating to Italy, especially ancient Italy or its tribes.


Often italics. italic type.
(initial capital letter) a branch of the Indo-European family of languages, including ancient Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, and modern Romance.




font, case, boldface, roman, agate, pica

Nearby words

italianate, italianism, italianist, italianize, italianizer, italic, italicism, italicize, italics, italo-, italophile

Origin of italic

1555–65; < Latin Italicus < Greek Italikós, equivalent to Ital(ía) Italy + -ikos -ic
Related formsnon-I·tal·ic, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for italics

British Dictionary definitions for italics (1 of 2)


/ (ɪˈtælɪk) /


a branch of the Indo-European family of languages that includes many of the ancient languages of Italy, such as Venetic and the Osco-Umbrian group, Latin, which displaced them, and the Romance languages


denoting, relating to, or belonging to this group of languages, esp the extinct ones

British Dictionary definitions for italics (2 of 2)


/ (ɪˈtælɪk) /


Also: Italian of, relating to, or denoting a style of handwriting with the letters slanting to the right


a style of printing type modelled on this, chiefly used to indicate emphasis, a foreign word, etcCompare roman 1
(often plural) italic type or print

Word Origin for italic

C16 (after an edition of Virgil (1501) printed in Venice and dedicated to Italy): from Latin Italicus of Italy, from Greek Italikos
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 italics


1610s (adj.), 1670s (n.) "italic type," from Latin italicus "Italian" (see Italian); so called because it was introduced in 1501 by Aldus Manutius, printer of Venice (who also gave his name to Aldine), and first used in an edition of Virgil dedicated to Italy. Earlier (1570s) the word was used for the plain, sloping style of handwriting, as opposed to Gothic. Related: Italics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for italics


Slanted letters that look like this: We the people. Italics are most often used to emphasize certain words, to indicate that they are in a foreign language, or to set off the title of a literary or artistic work.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.