Re: What's a widow? or not?

Subject: Re: What's a widow? or not?
From: Randy Grandle <athanasius -at- CONTRAMUNDUM -dot- ENG -dot- SUN -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 10:03:53 -0700

In article AA843000057 -at- sctepsc2 -dot- sct -dot- co -dot- uk, iharrison -at- sct -dot- co -dot- uk writes:

> The use of 'widows' to describe a short measure line at the end of a
> paragraph is not 'well-established language that I do not understand'. It
> is use of a term that can have two meanings, in my view is being
> incorrectly used here, and clearly has confused more than one person on
> this list.

> Having only been personally involved in typesetting over the last 26 years,
> I checked with a friend who has been in the typesetting and printing
> industry for considerably longer. He has <I>never</I> heard of the term
> being used this way, even in error. His view concurs with mine that ...
> Well, I won't labour the point. Possibly the Atlantic is relevant.

According to the _Chicago Manual of Style_, 13th Edition, a widow is:

"A short line ending a paragraph at the top of a page . . . also, less
strictly, a word or part of a word on a line by itself at the end of any

_Words into Type_, 3rd Edition, does not mention the second meaning.

I've seen the term 'widow' used both ways over the years. Since you are
not familiar with the second meaning in the UK, the second meaning may well
be an "Americanism".

Randy Grandle

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