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for printing, was invented in China (c.1040), using woodblocks. Related devices, such as seals and stamps for making impressions in clay, had been used in ancient times in Babylon and elsewhere.
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(also cursive; see  below).
(1) A type style characterized by a slant to the right that is similar to that of handwriting; it is intended to emphasize parts of a text. Italics may be lightface or semibold. A word to be set in italic type is underlined with a wavy line. [This is the Soviet and European convention; in the USA a straight line is used.] This sentence is set in italic type.
(2) The cursive script of Latin and Greek writing, which arose as a result of the desire for speed and convenience of writing without lifting the pen; from this came letters that slope to the right and are joined in a single, continuous motion. The oldest cursive writing dates to the first or second century A.D.; it was widely used, beginning in the ninth century, in Greek and Byzantine writing for formal, diplomatic, and commercial correspondence.