Understand “Italics” through Etymology

The etymology of the word “italics”

The word “italics” comes from the work of the Venetian printer – Aldus Manutius. Manutius decided to print Virgil‘s poems in a style that involved tilting the typeface to a rightward slant.

This went on record as the first instance of such a style of writing, which came to be known as “Italics”, inspired by the name of Italy.

Aldus Manutius’s contributions to publishing include not only the invention of the italic type, but introducing the modern use of the semicolon, and developing today’s design of the comma. He is also said to have created economically-priced small books bound in vellum that may be seen as conceptually similar to modern paperbacks.

Many other fonts that we use today are said to have been inspired by the work of Aldus Manutius, including: Bembo, Poliphilus, GaramondPalatino and Aldus.

The italic style of writing is now used to indicate emphasis, in various contexts. It is also used when quoting a speaker a way to show which words they stressed. It may be seen as the printing equivalent of underlining.

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Written on: Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 at 8:53 pm
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Founder at Logophilia Education Pvt. Ltd.