• synonyms


noun Printing.
  1. a smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for serif

Historical Examples

  • A very thin line or serif is apt to be lost in the background.

    Writing &amp; Illuminating, &amp; Lettering

    Edward Johnston

  • Serif—The short cross-line or tick at the end of the main strokes in roman letters.


    A. A. Stewart

  • Then start similarly at the extreme right-hand point of the bottom Serif, and cut the right side of the stroke.

British Dictionary definitions for serif


rarely seriph

  1. printing a small line at the extremities of a main stroke in a type character
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Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for serif


in typography, 1841, earlier ceref (1827); see sans-serif.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper