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« Dictionary Index « Definitions under L


Two or more letters joined together, and cast on the same shank, are in a printing office called Ligatures.

The ligatures now used are few in number, having been reduced to æ, , , ffl ligature, , , and œ ; within the last thirty years we had, in addition, ct ligature, as also sb ligature, sh ligature, si ligature, sk ligature, sl ligature, ss ligature, and st ligature, which are now discarded, in consequence of our confining ourselves entirely to the s. In the leaf of an old book, De vita & gestis Scanderbegi, now lying before me, there are the following additional ones, — as, at, cta, et, es, ius, is, ij, iu, ll, ns, ſt, ſs, ſp, ta, and us.

I do not think it was an improvement to change the shape of the et ligature, which, till the alteration, was really a ligature, being e and t joined together; the modern character has no meaning in it, neither the Roman & nor the Italic et ligature italic.

Earl Stanhope proposed to abolish the present ligatures, by making the f more upright without being kerned, so as to admit an i, an l, or another f after it, and to introduce other ligatures, or, as he termed them, 'logotypes,' that more frequently occur, viz. th, in, an, re, se, to, of, and on.

Smith, in his Printer's Grammar, says that Mr. Caslon introduced the sb ligature and the sk ligature. — See Bill. Logotype.

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