majuscule


majuscule

Uppercase, capital, or large letter in calligraphy, in contrast to the minuscule, lowercase, or small letter. All the letters in a majuscule script are contained between a single pair of real or theoretical horizontal lines. The earliest known Roman majuscule letters are in the style known as square capitals, distinguished by downstrokes that are heavier than upstrokes and by serifs (short strokes at right angles to the top and bottom of a letter). Square capitals were used mainly in inscriptions on Roman imperial monuments. Rustic capitals, used in books and official documents, formed a freer, more elliptical script. Roman cursive capitals, a running-hand script used for notes and letters, were a forerunner of the minuscule scripts that appeared later.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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