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
  1. noun
    the part of a metal typeface that projects beyond its body
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    type of:
    a small metal block bearing a raised character on one end; produces a printed character when inked and pressed on paper
  2. verb
    furnish with a kern
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    type of:
    furnish, provide, render, supply
    give something useful or necessary to
  3. verb
    remove a portion of space between (adjacent letters)
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    type of:
    get rid of, remove
    dispose of
Word Family