A print is a two-dimensional work of art that is one of a number of identical or essentially identical copies. (A three-dimensional work of art that is one of a number of copies is called a multiple.) A print is produced ("pulled") by various means of mass production. Though certain elements of the print may be crafted by hand, the majority of the work is created by mechanical means.

Technically, anything from a xerox copy to the poster on your wall to a photograph is a print. In fine art, the word print usually refers to a limited edition (500-1000 are common) created by and pulled under the supervision of an artist. The methods used range from the traditional (woodcut, engraving) to the modern (lithograph), and innovative printmakers are combining and inventing techniques. See printmaking for more information on techniques.

In printmaking, in most cases there is no "original". Each print is an individual and identical work of art. Buyers may value prints with lower numbers in the edition, but this is an arbitrary distinction. Prints that are copies of an original work in another medium (e.g., prints of a painting) are not considered works of art.

Though the artist usually does not pull the prints him or herself, the artist must be heavily involved for the print to be considered "authentic". The artist will sign each print (often in pencil, which is perfectly acceptable) and they will all be individually numbered (e.g., xx/500). The print will usually bear the identifying mark of the studio which produced the series. In previous centuries, prints would bear Latin abbrevations such as fec, inv, pinx, del, delin, inc, sculp, imp, exc, or excud identifying the role of the person in the printmaking process, followed by the name of that person.

Ignorant and unscrupulous sellers can easily misidentify prints, and in some cases I’ve seen prints identified as paintings! Prints advertised as "limited editions" are often little more than posters. Sometimes (Salvador Dali is a notorious example) an artist will sign blank paper before the prints are pulled, or the signatures are simply forged. Buyers should be wary and purchase prints only from reputable dealers or the artist him or herself. Markets like ebay or QVC are probably not the best.
prime time = P = printing discussion

print v.

To output, even if to a screen. If a hacker says that a program "printed a message", he means this; if he refers to printing a file, he probably means it in the conventional sense of writing to a hardcopy device (compounds like `print job' and `printout', on the other hand, always refer to the latter). This very common term is likely a holdover from the days when printing terminals were the norm, perpetuated by programming language constructs like C's printf(3). See senses 1 and 2 of tty.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Print (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Printed; p. pr. & vb. n. Printing.] [Abbrev. fr. imprint. See Imprint, and Press to squeeze.]


To fix or impress, as a stamp, mark, character, idea, etc., into or upon something.

A look will print a thought that never may remove. Surrey.

Upon his breastplate he beholds a dint, Which in that field young Edward's sword did print. Sir John Beaumont.

Perhaps some footsteps printed in the clay. Roscommon.


To stamp something in or upon; to make an impression or mark upon by pressure, or as by pressure.

Forth on his fiery steed betimes he rode, That scarcely prints the turf on which he trod. Dryden.

3. Specifically:

To strike off an impression or impressions of, from type, or from stereotype, electrotype, or engraved plates, or the like; in a wider sense, to do the typesetting, presswork, etc., of (a book or other publication); as, to print books, newspapers, pictures; to print an edition of a book.


To stamp or impress with colored figures or patterns; as, to print calico.

5. Photog.

To take (a copy, a positive picture, etc.), from a negative, a transparent drawing, or the like, by the action of light upon a sensitized surface.

Printed goods, textile fabrics printed in patterns, especially cotton cloths, or calicoes.


© Webster 1913.

Print, v. i.


To use or practice the art of typography; to take impressions of letters, figures, or electrotypes, engraved plates, or the like.


To publish a book or an article.

From the moment he prints, he must except to hear no more truth. Pope.


© Webster 1913.

Print, n. [See Print, v., Imprint, n.]


A mark made by impression; a line, character, figure, or indentation, made by the pressure of one thing on another; as, the print of teeth or nails in flesh; the print of the foot in sand or snow.

Where print of human feet was never seen. Dryden.


A stamp or die for molding or impressing an ornamental design upon an object; as, a butter print.


That which receives an impression, as from a stamp or mold; as, a print of butter.


Printed letters; the impression taken from type, as to excellence, form, size, etc.; as, small print; large print; this line is in print.


That which is produced by printing.

Specifically: (a)

An impression taken from anything, as from an engraved plate

. "The prints which we see of antiquities." Dryden. (b)

A printed publication, more especially a newspaper or other periodical

. Addison. (c)

A printed cloth; a fabric figured by stamping, especially calico or cotton cloth

. (d)

A photographic copy, or positive picture, on prepared paper, as from a negative, or from a drawing on transparent paper.

6. Founding

A core print. See under Core.

Blue print, a copy in white lines on a blue ground, of a drawing, plan, tracing, etc., or a positive picture in blue and white, from a negative, produced by photographic printing on peculiarly prepared paper.<-- also blueprint. Long used for reproduction of architectural drawings, now also applied to an architectural plan of any color, and thus (Fig.) a plan, or outline of a plan of action; as, blueprint for action --> -- In print. (a) In a printed form; issued from the press; published. Shak. (b) To the letter; with accurateness. "All this I speak in print." Shak. -- Out of print. See under Out. -- Print works, a factory where cloth, as calico, is printed.


© Webster 1913.

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