Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The portion of a typeface that projects beyond the body or shank of a character.
  • transitive verb To provide (type) with a kern.
  • transitive verb To adjust space between (characters) in typeset text.
  • noun A medieval Scottish or Irish foot soldier.
  • noun A loutish person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A dialectal (unassibi-lated) form of churn.
  • To form corns or grains; take the form of corns or grains; granulate; harden, as corn in ripening; set, as fruit or grain.
  • To granulate, as salt by evaporation.
  • To sow with corn.
  • To cause to granulate, as salt by evaporation.
  • In type-founding, to form with a kern or projection, as-a type or letter.
  • noun A corn; grain; kernel.
  • noun In printing, that part of a type which projects beyond the body or shank, as in the Roman letters f and j as formerly made and some italic letters.
  • noun The last handful or sheaf of grain cut down at the close of the harvest. Also called kern-cut.
  • noun A harvest-home.
  • noun A dialectal form of quern.
  • noun In the ancient militia of Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland, a light-armed foot-soldier of the lowest and poorest grade, armed with a dart or skean: opposed to gallowglass, a heavy-armed soldier. The word is sometimes used in a collective sense.
  • noun Hence —2. An Irish churl or boor; by extension, any ignoble person; a drudge; a bumpkin.
  • noun In English law, an idle person or vagabond.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Type Founding) A part of the face of a type which projects beyond the body, or shank, such as in certain italic letters.
  • transitive verb (Type Founding) To form with a kern. See 2d kern.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A churn.
  • noun A hand mill. See quern.
  • noun Kernel; corn; grain.
  • noun The last handful or sheaf reaped at the harvest.
  • noun The harvest-home.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To harden, as corn in ripening.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To take the form of kernels; to granulate.
  • noun A light-armed foot soldier of the ancient militia of Ireland and Scotland; -- distinguished from gallowglass, and often used as a term of contempt.
  • noun obsolete Any kind of boor or low-lived person.
  • noun (O. Eng. Law) An idler; a vagabond.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A corn; grain; kernel.
  • noun A light-armed foot soldier of the ancient militia of Ireland and Scotland; in archaic contexts often used as a term of contempt.
  • noun Alternative form of quern.
  • noun typography any part of a letter which extends into the space used by another letter.
  • verb typography To adjust the horizontal space between selected pairs of letters (characters or glyphs); to perform such adjustments to a portion of text, according to preset rules.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb remove a portion of space between (adjacent letters)
  • noun the part of a metal typeface that projects beyond its body
  • verb furnish with a kern
  • noun United States composer of musical comedies (1885-1945)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French carne, corner, from Old North French, from Latin cardō, cardin-, hinge.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English kerne, from Middle Irish ceithern, ceithernn, band of soldiers, from Old Irish.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A variant of corn, see Dutch kern, Old High German kerno, cherno, Middle High German kerne, kern, German kern, Icelandic kjarni, Danish kjerne, Swedish kärna ("core, kernel"); see also kernel.

Examples

Comments

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  • Enter Magee Mor Matthew, a rugged rough rugheaded kern, in strossers with a buttoned codpiece, his nether stocks bemired with clauber of ten forests, a wand of wilding in his hand.

    Joyce, Ulysses, 9

    January 6, 2007

  • "Regarding analogous kerning-esque activities, is it accurate to say you’re looking for examples of people moving things around with the aim of modulating space? Depending on how broad you want to take it, landscapers, plastic surgeons, and all manner of artists do this as a matter of routine. But then you could also say a pugilist kerns his/her fist to an opponent’s face.

    - from an online discussion on the origin and implications of the word "kern"

    September 16, 2007

  • Wow, fascinating discussion. I'll never think of kerning quite the same way again.

    September 16, 2007

  • I love typography. I'm always amazed at how deep a subject it is, and how fascinating a background it has.

    September 17, 2007

  • K E    RN

    UR doin it wrong

    October 14, 2008

  • Kern - to grow into fruit; ripen, mature

    Maÿ flow'rs do grow vor June to burn,

    An' milk-white blooth o' trees do kern,

    — RIVERS DON'T GI'E OUT

    May 9, 2013