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In the details below, I use something to stand in for the word I am looking for. Speech may have euphony; writing may have something.

For example, when writing about the relative sizes of items, I might prefer to use "gigantic" and "tiny" as opposed to "big" and "minuscule," for consistency between word length and meaning. This has to do with the way the words appear on visually the page, not necessarily how they sound. In particular, the words chosen have something because of their character (or letter) count.

Clarification: I suppose "looks good" would be the meaning I am seeking (euphony is basically "sounds good" / "good sound"). I am looking for a single word, though, that is specific to writing. A lot of things that aren't writing "look good."

In response to @Zan700: he picks out that my above example is analogous to onomatopoeia. But here is another example: I might find words whose characters are all the same height to be pleasing to the eye, so for a user ID, I might pick "neo" instead of "Neo" (as Neo does in The Matrix). For simlar reasons, I might use the verb "peg" instead of "spike," because "spike" is too spiky in appearance (spikier than "peg"). In this example, the chosen words have something because of the shapes of the individual letters.

Yet another example: in the following poem (yes, I checked the definition of poetry in the OED), the characters are arranged in a visually pleasing manner: the antecedents line up vertically, as do the consequents, etc:

first <- function(x)
                                if
    (0  <  x %|% length) x[[1]] else if
    (x %|%    is.vector) x      else
                         NULL

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so some would find the following, syntactically and semantically equivalent poem more pleasing:

first <- function(x) if (0 < x %|% length) x[[1]] else if (x %|% is.vector) x else NULL

The preceding poems have something because of their layout.

So the meaning I'm looking for is "looks good," but not necessarily for any particular reason, just as euphony does not, in and of itself, have a particular reason behind "sounding good" (it could sound good because it rhymes, because of alliteration, or because it sounds like one's own name).

If there is no such word, perhaps I could invent one (say, for use as a proper name in a fictional story, or in a poem). Someone with better Greek could make a suggestion. Perhaps eumatia?

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  • Probably metrics: the art of metrical composition.
    – user 66974
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 18:44
  • 1
    From the SWR tag: "This tag is for questions seeking a single word that fits a meaning. To ensure that your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. YOU MUST INCLUDE A SAMPLE SENTENCE demonstrating how the word would be used. " Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 18:52
  • This is unclear. Are you referring to the lengths of words is written in letters?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 19:03
  • "Eugraphy" would be my choice for a made up word - "good writing" or "written well". Because it's not appearance in general, it's the appearance of the written word specifically
    – No Name
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 5:16
  • @NoName , please make your Jun 4 comment into an answer.
    – Ana Nimbus
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 16:23

3 Answers 3

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When inventing a word, it helps to make it fit in with the rest of the language. Because the word you are looking for is a specific parallel to "euphony" in the context of writing, a good choice is eugraphy - from the Greek for "good writing" or "written well". This could refer to the grammar, the letter forms, even the font, much like how euphony can refer to the (spoken) grammar, the phonetics, even the speaker's voice.

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  • This is a from a comment promoted at the behest of OP
    – No Name
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 19:21
  • I am picking this as the answer. The cursory Internet search I did suggests that "eugraphy" is not a euphemism for something sinister (what if the question had been about a word for "loves children?").
    – Ana Nimbus
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 19:52
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Typography is the general concept. As defined at Wikipedia:

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed.

If you're adjusting what length word you use in order to control the line length, margin, spacing, or other visual feature of a text, you are adjusting the typography. A more specific term is typesetting, referring to the physical or digital arrangement of letters.

There's no one word like euphony for describing particularly aesthetic typography or typesetting. It would depend on what you were accomplishing.

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  • What OP is describing has nothing to do with typography: 'I might prefer to use "gigantic" and "tiny" as opposed to "big" and "minuscule"'. This isn't the arrangement of text; it's word choice.
    – Laurel
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 20:39
  • I used the typography tag not because this question applied exclusively to typography, but because it is related, and could be applied to typography. I applied the poetry tag for the same reason.
    – Ana Nimbus
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 21:25
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    @Laurel, it's word choice as adjusted by typographical criteria. They are selecting words based on typographical characteristics, just as one might select words based on euphonic characteristics Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 21:40
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This is similar to characterization through word choice. For example, "Bill Null" might be used to emphasize that a character is tall (all the tall l's). In your examples, it's visually matching the word to its meaning, and analogous to onomatopoeia.

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  • I have edited my question in response to your post: "the meaning I'm looking for is 'looks good,' but not necessarily for any particular reason."
    – Ana Nimbus
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 21:23
  • I've voted this down for the imprecision of your phrase "word choice". You're not talking about the words, per se, but about the glyphs for the letters required to spell the word having ascenders, imitating tallness. It's a glyph-driven choice, not a word-driven choice. Flaubert is rolling over in his grave.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 19:32
  • @TimR But what you will set down on the page is a word. Your choice will be among words that contain glyphs. Ah, I'll chose LLLLLLLLLLLL for my character because the glyphs have ascenders.
    – Zan700
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 13:23
  • It's not a lexical choice, strictly speaking, but a typographical one. It has nothing to do with what the word means in speech, or even with how it sounds, but with the glyphs and fonts used to represent it on the page. Lower-case -L- in a cursive font might not have the same visual effect as a one in a condensed font.
    – TimR
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 14:34
  • It is both a lexical and typographical choice. If the word doesn't meet the lexical needs, the typography is irrelevant. Different fonts look different? Really?
    – Zan700
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 15:51

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