Is there an opposite of "keming", where there's a kerning problem involving too much space between certain letters? For example:

The page looks pretty good, but the spacing between the "_" and "1" is a bad case of ____.

Wiktionary doesn't have an entry for "keming", and Wikipedia mentions the concept of "keming" in the section Automatic and manual kerning but doesn't mention any opposite.

  • 2
    I'm making up words here, but maybe kerriing? Nov 27, 2015 at 6:17
  • "Keming" might still apply? (You can find examples of both at the following link: fuckyeahkeming.com) You might as well call it "ker n in g."
    – herisson
    Nov 27, 2015 at 6:26
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    "Wiktionary doesn't have an entry for "keming"" - that's because "keming" is a victim of bad kerning. The word you are looking for is k e r n i n g - a typographical terms for the correct proportional spacing of letters in typesetting.
    – Cargill
    Nov 27, 2015 at 7:15
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    @Cargill I am aware of the difference between "keming" and "kerning". Nov 27, 2015 at 7:23
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    Okay - I looked it up - "keming" is just a slang word for bad kerning (for the obvious reasons). But if there were too much space, it's hard to think there would be a mirror word - since the letters would be well spaced apart (too far, in fact).
    – Cargill
    Nov 27, 2015 at 7:56

3 Answers 3


Technically (and it is a technical term), 'kerning' is the adjustment of space between specific pairs of characters. The adjustment can be either positive or negative (more or less space).

The relational opposite is 'letter-spacing' or 'tracking', which is the adjustment (again, positive or negative) of the space between characters in blocks of text.

Adjustment applied to a block of text or paragraph, to increase or decrease the average distance between letters. ... Also called tracking.

[letter spacing. BusinessDictionary.com. WebFinance, Inc. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/letter-spacing.html (accessed: November 26, 2015).]


The relational opposite of 'keming' is ⬛. ['Keming', incidentally or not, might be a more amusing coinage if aged eyes could distinguish between 'kerning' and 'keming' in at least one of the atrocious fonts used for IE on old Windows systems.] This relational opposite, ⬛, makes more sense than 'ker_ning', an opposite coined in apparent ignorance of the one true and unassailable definition of 'keming', which is

the result of improper kerning.

That definition was supplied by the coiner of 'keming' at the Ironic Sans blog, as mentioned in an entry called "Keming Revisited".

As can readily be seen, ⬛ is the result of tracking or letter-spacing gone wrong. Before the tracking was improperly applied, the paragraph it was applied to read as follows:

'Kippering' is the typographical term for smoking, or otherwise applying heat, a chisel, or acid to a block of hot-metal type in order to make it all run together or break apart. More recently, 'kippering' has been accomplished with electronic means. An example of the latter is the early X Window screen saver application which, when installed, caused any letters on the display to gradually and randomly break off and flutter like falling leaves to the bottom of the display, where they accumulated in a black, snow-drift like heap.


There is no "opposite" of kerning - it is simply the adjustment (either way) of the (proportional) spacing between letters to look professional, and good to the eye. A lot of typesetting software does it very well now, but it used to be a part of the typesetter's craft.

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    I think the question actually is something like this: "'keming' is a humorous self-referential term for bad kerning. The way it is spelled indicates that it obviously applies to bad kerning where letters are run together. Is there a distinct term along the same lines for bad kerning where there is too much space between letters?" Andrew Grimm never actually asked for an opposite to "kerning."
    – herisson
    Nov 27, 2015 at 7:46

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