In old-fashioned printing, a kern is the part of metal type that extends beyond the letter's block of type, like the tail of an f or a j.
The verb kern comes from the noun. When you move a metal piece of type closer to or farther from its neighbor, you kern. This aesthetic adjustment between the printed letters of a word is very important to designers and typographers, and it's known as kerning. Kern comes from the French carne, "projecting angle," from the Latin root cardinem, or "hinge."
Definitions of kern
the part of a metal typeface that projects beyond its body
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