majuscule

majuscule
majuscular, adj.
/meuh jus"kyoohl, maj"euh skyoohl'/, adj.
1. (of letters) capital.
2. large, as either capital or uncial letters.
3. written in such letters (opposed to minuscule).
n.
4. a majuscule letter.
[1720-30; < L majuscula (littera) a somewhat bigger (letter), equiv. to majus-, s. of major MAJOR + -cula -CULE1]

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Uppercase, capital, or large letter in calligraphy, in contrast to the minuscule, lowercase, or small letter.

All the letters in a majuscule script are contained between a single pair of real or theoretical horizontal lines. The earliest known Roman majuscule letters are in the style known as square capitals, distinguished by downstrokes that are heavier than upstrokes and by serifs (short strokes at right angles to the top and bottom of a letter). Square capitals were used mainly in inscriptions on Roman imperial monuments. Rustic capitals, used in books and official documents, formed a freer, more elliptical script. Roman cursive capitals, a running-hand script used for notes and letters, were a forerunner of the minuscule scripts that appeared later.

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      in calligraphy, capital, uppercase, or large letter in most alphabets, in contrast to the minuscule, lowercase, or small letter. All the letters in a majuscule script are contained between a single pair of (real or theoretical) horizontal lines. The Latin, or Roman, alphabet uses both majuscule and minuscule letters.

      The earliest known Roman majuscule, or capital, letters are in the script known as square capitals and can be seen chiseled in the stone of numerous surviving imperial Roman monuments. Square capitals are distinguished by their slightly heavier downstrokes and lighter upstrokes, and by their use of serifs, i.e., the short lines stemming at right angles from the upper and lower ends of the strokes of a letter. Square capitals set a standard for elegance and clarity in the Roman alphabet that has never been surpassed.

      In contrast to square capitals, which were used mainly in stone inscriptions, the script used throughout the Roman Empire in books and official documents was rustic capitals. This letter form was freer and more curved and flowing than that of square capitals and could be more easily written because of the oblique angle at which the pen was held to form the letters. The letters were more compact, and rounded forms became elliptical. The characters lost some of the formal appearance of square capitals. Both square and rustic capitals had gradually disappeared by the late 7th century AD.

      Roman cursive capitals, a running-hand script, were customarily used in the Roman Empire for notes, business records, letters, and other informal or everyday uses. This form could be written with great speed and was, therefore, often written carelessly and tended toward illegibility. It was, nonetheless, one of several forerunners of the minuscule scripts that appeared later.

      Another of these forerunners was a script called uncial—a rounder, more open majuscule form influenced by cursive. Uncial was the most common script used to write books from the 4th to the 8th century AD. Half-uncial script was developed during the same period and eventually evolved into an almost entirely minuscule alphabet. The origins of lowercase letters in the modern alphabet can be traced directly to these uncial scripts. See also Latin alphabet; uncial.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • majuscule — [ maʒyskyl ] adj. et n. f. • 1529; lat. majusculus → minuscule ♦ Lettre majuscule : lettre manuscrite plus grande que la minuscule, d un dessin différent, qui se met au commencement des phrases, des vers, des noms propres et de certains noms de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Majuscule — Ma*jus cule, n. [Cf. F. majuscule. See {Majuscul[ae]}.] A capital letter; especially, one used in ancient manuscripts. See {Majuscul[ae]}. [1913 Webster] {Majuscule writing}, writing composed wholly of capital letters, especially the style which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • majuscule — Majuscule. adj. de tout genre. Terme d imprimerie. Il n a d usage qu en ces phrases. Lettre majuscule. caractere majuscule, & signifie lettre capitale …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • majuscule — 18c. (adj)., 1825 (n.), from Fr. majuscule (16c.), from L. maiuscula (littera), fem. of maiusculus somewhat larger, somewhat greater, dim. of maior (see MAJOR (Cf. major) (adj.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • majuscule — [mə jus′kyo͞ol΄, maj′əskyo͞ol] n. [Fr < L majuscula (littera), somewhat larger (letter), dim. < major: see MAJOR] 1. a large letter, capital or uncial, as in medieval manuscripts 2. writing in which such letters are used adj. of, written in …   English World dictionary

  • Majuscule — Capitale et majuscule Bien que l’usage tende à confondre capitales et majuscules, en typographie une distinction existe entre ces deux mots. La capitale (du latin capitalis, « qui concerne la tête ») est, en typographie, la casse à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • majuscule — (ma ju sku l ) adj. Terme d écriture et d imprimerie, usité seulement dans cette locution : lettre majuscule, caractère majuscule, grande lettre, lettre capitale.    Écriture majuscule, se dit de l écriture dont toutes les lettres sont des… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • MAJUSCULE — adj.des deux genres T. d Écriture et d Imprim. Il n est usité que dans ces expressions, Lettre majuscule, caractère majuscule, Grande lettre, lettre capitale.  Il est quelquefois substantif féminin. La première lettre d un nom propre doit… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • MAJUSCULE — adj. des deux genres Qui est plus grand, en parlant des Caractères d’écriture et d’imprimerie. Lettre majuscule, par opposition à Lettre minuscule. Lettre majuscule, caractère majuscule, Grande lettre, lettre capitale. Il est aussi nom féminin.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • majuscule —    A capital letter; literally a large letter. Majuscule looks like the complement to minuscule, and the resemblance is no coincidence. Minuscule appeared in the early 18th century as a word for certain ancient and medieval writing styles which… …   Glossary of Art Terms

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