Black-letter typefaces represent Gothic innovation in typography. Historically, black-letter (also sometimes unhyphenated, blackletter) derives from Northern Europe. It is typified by tall, narrow letters with dagger-pointed stems and serifs.

The term 'black-letter' refers to the visual impact of the letter forms on a densely inked printed page. The counterpart of black-letter is white-letter.

Black-letter is the style of type one would see in Dracula movies--that spooky Transylvania font. Typefaces mislabelled as "Old English" are also black-letter. Fraktur, that German style of type that the NAZI's were fond of, is a true example of black-face.

Black"-let`ter, a.

1.

Written or printed in black letter; as, a black-letter manuscript or book.

2.

Given to the study of books in black letter; that is, of old books; out of date.

Kemble, a black-letter man! J. Boaden.

3.

Of or pertaining to the days in the calendar not marked with red letters as saints' days. Hence: Unlucky; inauspicious.

 

© Webster 1913.

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