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

  • 4
    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". Mar 31, 2011 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


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

  • 1
    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. Mar 31, 2011 at 16:51
  • 9
    @JSBangs: The term "descenders" refers to both - look at the dictionary entry that I linked to in my answer.
    – psmears
    Mar 31, 2011 at 16:53
  • The NOAD defines descender in the same way.
    – apaderno
    Mar 31, 2011 at 17:39
  • 7
    And the other type are "ascenders," e.g., b,d,f, etc.
    – The Raven
    Mar 31, 2011 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.


  • 1
    In the link that psmears posted, it said that it refers to both the part that goes below and the letter itself. Mar 31, 2011 at 16:53

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

  • 2
    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. Jun 1, 2013 at 7:21

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