Glossary

 

I intend this section to be a glossary for typographers and scientists so that they may learn each others vocabulary to facilitate cross-disciplinary discourse. In the meantime see:

A continual work in progress, .

Aa

Allignment
Used to describe the setting of a paragraph. Either flush left, flush right, justified or centered.

Alertness, tonic
Sustained endogenous attention, often measured by the elevator counting test of auditory sustained attention.

Alertness, phasic
Exogenous alertness induced by external stimuli. Measured by manipulating the presence or absence of warning signals.

Ascender
The part of a letter that extends above the mean-line such as the top of the letter k.

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Bb

Base-line
An invisible line that the bottom of lowercase letters rest upon (without descenders).

Biagram
A pair of numbers. In a random balanced Latin square, there are no identical biagrams in any row or column.

Bi-modal
A distribution curve with two peaks. “You are either really good or really bad. There are no in betweens.”

 

Cc

Cap height
The height of a capital letter.

Centered
All lines of type are set upon a central axis.

Character count
The number of letters per line.

Chirography
The study of handwriting.

Cull
A vegetable that is not suitable for market.

 

Dd

Dependent variable (DV)
The variable used to measure the effects of manipulating the independent variable.

Diagraph
Two glyphs combined into one representing a phoneme(s).

Dressing out
The difference between live weight and freezer weight of an animal’s meat.

Ductus
The hairline in a script typeface that joins one letter to the next.

 

Ff

Font
A specific size, style, and weight of a typeface. For example, 10 point Helvetica Neue Italic is a font. 12 point Helvetica Neue Bold is a different font.

Forking
To loosen carrots, potatoes, parsnips &c with a pitchfork to facilitate picking.

 

Gg

Glyph
An element of writing incluting letters, numbers, symbols &c.

 

Hh

Hard rag
A flush-left paragraph setting without hyphenation — “This text is set flush-left with a hard rag.”

 

Ii

Independent variable (IV)
The variable that is manipulated.

 

Mm

Monolinear
A glyph with no thick-thin transition.

Minimum visible
The smallest object or area that can be reliably detected by the eye (~0.5 sec. or 1/7000º).

 

Nn

NASA task load index (NASA TLX)
A subjective workload assessment tool that takes mental demands, physical demands, temporal demands, own performance, effort and frustration into account. Can be used in contexts such as aircraft cockpits.

Negative contrast
Light text on a dark background.

 

Pp

Parthenocarpic
A hybrid of a plant that typically requires a pollinator, but doesn’t.

Perceptual grouping
A principle from Gestalt psychology that explains how people visually group objects based upon certain criteria such as proximity, similarity, continuation, closure and symmetry. In typography, a spatial hierarchy is a good example of perceptual grouping based on proximity.

Phoneme
A speech sound, such as “ch.”

Positive contrast
Dark text on a light background

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Rr

Read–tap asymmetry
A phenomenon that occurs on touch-screen devices where text is big enough to read, but too small to accurately touch.

Rhizoctonia
Those little black dots on the surface of a potato skin that you can scrape off.

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Ss

Significant
Outside of statistical coincidence. In experimental psychology, 5% is often used as the standard (if something happens <5% of the time it is considered random chance).

Sizing up
When a vegetable is getting bigger.

Soft rag
A flush-left paragraph setting with hyphenation — “This text is set flush-left with a soft rag.”

Stoop labour
Manual farm labour that requires you to be on your hands and knees, such as weeding hops.

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Tt

Threshold
The point at which you fail to recognize a stimuli 50% of the time. Above your threshold is supraliminal, below is subliminal.

Tittle
The dot of  a lowercase i.

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Vv

Visual angle
The angle, from the center of the eye, measured by calculating the height of the object being viewed and it’s distance from the eye.

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Ww

Walking out
The phenomenon when the walls of a barn that is slowly collapsing over a long period of time move outwards from their original foundation. “The walls of that barn are walking out.”

Weber’s Law (or Weber-Fechner Law)
The smallest detectable difference between two stimuli is proportional to the intensity of the stimuli.

Weber fraction
The proportion for detection (~1/53).

 

Additional resources

100types.com glossary

FontShop’s glossary

ParaType’s glossary

Typophile’s “Terminology” wiki

Arcane type terminology (A Typophile thread)