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Is there a name to describe the situation where a particular character is shown on a computer screen in a particular font, but this font does not have a glyph for this particular character?

Usually, the result looks like this: Ϳ
A kind of empty rectangle. Sometimes it shows the code for that character within the rectangle.


What do yo call this phenomenon?
If there is no name, is there a common term referring to this "rectangle"?

Some Japanese people call this "tofubake" because rectangles look like tofu.

(It is not mojibake. Mojibake happens when character encoding meta-information is lost. It is not the problem here. Using a better font solves this phenomenon, but does not solve mojibake. Selecting a character encoding solves mojibake, but does not solve this phenomenon.)

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I like glyphlessness. It only has two google hits, so it could use a few more. –  David Schwartz Mar 28 '12 at 10:13
I have just found one place where a person calls them "missing glyph squares" bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=665598 –  Nicolas Raoul Mar 28 '12 at 10:56
Does this question belong on superuser.com? –  zpletan Mar 28 '12 at 12:23
@zpletan: I hesitated a lot. I am asking for the English word to describe something. So I posted here. For the Japanese word I ask here: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/5129 –  Nicolas Raoul Mar 29 '12 at 2:40
Fair enough—just wanted to make sure you knew there might be another place to ask. If you knew and decided that this was the best place, I won't be the person to say you're wrong. –  zpletan Mar 29 '12 at 2:43

1 Answer 1

The Unicode standard calls it a replacement glyph.

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So the situation would be something like glyph replacement (e.g., a web page rendered unreadable because of glyph replacement.) –  Brett Reynolds Mar 28 '12 at 12:29
I would say it was rendered unreadable because of missing glyphs, but this answer sounds right to me. –  zpletan Mar 28 '12 at 14:40
In unicode.org/versions/Unicode6.0.0/ch05.pdf they are called "Interpretable but Unrenderable Character"... but probably nobody would understand me if I use that term. –  Nicolas Raoul Mar 29 '12 at 5:13
Microsoft calls it "square" -- "Word cannot open the existing [square]" at support.microsoft.com/kb/247028 –  Andrew Leach Mar 29 '12 at 13:20
MS also uses "Square Symbol". support.microsoft.com/kb/189439 Both my and Andrew's example appear to be really old articles that've been occasionally refreshed. It'd be interesting to see if MS has gotten more consistent in new ones; but I'm not sure how to force that out of a search engine. –  Dan Neely Sep 18 '12 at 15:45

protected by Mari-Lou A Feb 24 at 8:45

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