Definitions

X-height

X-height

[eks-hahyt]

In typography, the x-height or corpus size refers to the distance between the baseline and the mean line in a typeface. Typically, this is the height of the letter x in the font (which is where the terminology came from), as well as the u, v, w, and z. (Curved letters such as a, c, e, m, n, o, r and s tend to exceed the x-height slightly, due to overshoot.) However, in modern typography, the x-height is simply a design characteristic of the font, and while an x is usually exactly one x-height in height, in some more decorative or script designs, this may not always be the case.

Lowercase letters whose height is greater than the x-height either have descenders which extend below the baseline, such as y, g, q, and p, or have ascenders which extend above the x-height, such as l, k, b, and d. The ratio of the x-height to the body height is one of the major characteristics that defines the appearance of a font. The height of the capital letters is referred to as Cap height.

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