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[ser-if] /ˈsɛr ɪf/
noun, Printing.
a smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M.
Also, especially British, ceriph.
1835-45; perhaps < Dutch schreef line (in writing), akin to schrijven to write Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for serif
  • The serif font is easier to read, and the way that the articles can be chosen is simple and intuitive.
  • By my office door was my name spelled in crisp, sans-serif letters.
  • The pots, bottles and tubes they come in have a no-nonsense look, all neutral colors and sans-serif fonts.
  • serif type is not recommended because fluctuation in registration will adversely affect the fine strokes and serifs.
  • If you are allergic to sans-serif type, the designers may be able to work around that.
  • It's well-known that using serif fonts for body text increases readability and reading speed.
  • In its earliest form, the nameplate was in tall, serif type.
British Dictionary definitions for serif


(printing) a small line at the extremities of a main stroke in a type character
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from Dutch schreef dash, probably of Germanic origin, compare Old High German screvōn to engrave
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for serif

in typography, 1841, earlier ceref (1827); see sans-serif.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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