What is the typographic or calligraphic term for the vertical stroke in the letter L, and for the horizontal part of the letter L?

Ascender doesn't describe the entire vertical line in this letter (as far as I know), and I'm clueless about the horizontal part.

  • 2
    What is wrong with "vertical" and "horizontal"?
    – GEdgar
    Jan 17 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


Stem and Arm

stem and arm of a letterform

Source Adobe Print Publishing Technical Guides — Typography basics: Anatomy of letterforms

  • But in the letter L wouldn't it make more sense to call the horizontal extension a "foot"? (Not a criticism just me wondering out aloud)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 17 at 6:42
  • According to Wikipedia the lower extension is called the horizontal bar but then it says "A longer horizontal stroke at the top or bottom, as in E T, is called an arm"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 17 at 6:52
  • @Mari-LouA - And then the serif is a toe? :-)
    – Jim
    Jan 17 at 15:45
  • @Mari-LouA: Here’s a visual showing the E’s lower horizontal as an arm: Typedia... From TypeDecon: The top of the capital T and the horizontal strokes of the F and E are examples of arms... Sometimes arm is used interchangeably with bar or crossbar or cross stroke. But: Although often used interchangeably, the bar differs from an arm and a cross stroke because each end connects to a stem or stroke and doesn’t (usually) intersect/cross over the stem or stroke. Jan 17 at 16:43

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