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Is there a fancy name for these letters that "hang low"?

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I can remember that in the days of dot matrix printers, any printer that actually printed descenders below the line (as opposed to tucking them up into the 8 by 8 grid the cheaper ones had) was said to possess "hanging doobreys". – Brian Hooper Mar 31 '11 at 17:22
up vote 48 down vote accepted

Yes, they're called descenders, a term which also refers to the part of the letter that dips below the line.

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To clarify: the descender is the part of the letter that goes below the line. I don't know if there's a one-word term for letters that have descenders. – JSBձոգչ Mar 31 '11 at 16:51
@JSBangs: The term "descenders" refers to both - look at the dictionary entry that I linked to in my answer. – psmears Mar 31 '11 at 16:53
Thanks for answering so quickly! – Michael Moussa Mar 31 '11 at 17:03
The NOAD defines descender in the same way. – kiamlaluno Mar 31 '11 at 17:39
And the other type are "ascenders," e.g., b,d,f, etc. – The Raven Mar 31 '11 at 17:45

They have descenders. I don't think the letters themselves have a name.

Edit: I stand corrected.

a. The part of the lowercase letters, such as g, p, and q, that extends below the other lowercase letters.
b. A letter with such a part.


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In the link that psmears posted, it said that it refers to both the part that goes below and the letter itself. – Ullallulloo Mar 31 '11 at 16:53

Letters like g, p, q and j are called descenders or descending letters.

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Good answer, especially for noting that these are sometimes also called descending letters. This would be even better if you included a reference or other evidence. – Bradd Szonye Jun 1 '13 at 7:21

protected by tchrist Jul 6 '14 at 23:52

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