He shot the serif

Today’s Wayno/Bizarro collab:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A play on the

NO SHOES / NO SHIRT / NO SERVICE

sign in some restaurants. Here enforced by a maître d’ who’s a (serifed) uppercase B. Suitably serifed uppercase diners  fill the seats, while a shirted and shod but sans-serif uppercase T realizes he won’t be served.

Serifed and sans-serif Ts to compare:

(#2)

The word serif looks exotic, possibly Semitic or Persian, but in fact it’s Germanic. From OED3 (March 2013), with its probable source and notes on the history of its  use:

Etymology: Probably < Dutch schreef line, stroke, mark (Middle Dutch scrēvescreef; compare Middle Low German schrēve) < the same Indo-European base as Old High German screvōn to cut, to score (only in the prefixed form giscrevōn), Old Icelandic skref pace, and Latvian skrīpāt to cut, to score, to engrave.

(Small end or cross-strokes were first used by ancient stonecutters to define the limits of the chiselled principal strokes of Roman letters more clearly, and were later added by pen to written texts to give weight and clarity to the ends of the strokes. However, the word serif itself (in its various forms) apparently only came into use as a technical term to describe these finishing strokes with the advent of early modern type-founding [the OED’s first cite is from 1785, with the spelling ceriph]; it was subsequently applied to the analogous cross-strokes on handwritten letters.)

(And sheriff is Germanic too — a derivative based on English shire.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: