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see typetype,
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 [2] 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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Given the prestige of Aldus's new italic collection, it is not surprising to find illuminated copies, some even magnificently illuminated.
This will allow users to send text in bold, italics or strikethrough, and is only available for WhatsApp v2.
Italics are also used when referring to a letter or word and when using words in a foreign language.
Eventually I realised that "Shameless" must be the name of a TV programme - but whatever happened to italics for titles?
As a constructive criticism, I would suggest that the author use italics for internal thoughts instead of quote marks or no marks at all.
multiple interpretations are embedded in the text and part of the experience of horror comes from the realization that meaning itself runs riot" (Halberstam 2, italics added).
Notice you can use the underscore line (_) in the same way to set italics automatically.
Tyson prefers italics, stubs, obliques, and flexible nibs.
Italics or quotation marks inserted by the author amid quotes from letter writers alert the reader to his skepticism regarding the correspondent's motives.
For best results, avoid italics, scripts, fonts with serif format, or stylized fonts.
1) As O'Manique points out, the dominant Western view virtually ignores women and he thus calls attention to this bias by using italics.
Footnote "a," indicating the meaning of italics in each of these tables, should have been placed in the second line under "GM (geometric mean).