AskDefine | Define penmanship

Dictionary Definition

penmanship n : beautiful handwriting [syn: calligraphy]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the art or skill of good handwriting; calligraphy


art of good handwriting

Extensive Definition

''"Handwriting" redirects here. For scripts for writing down notes by hand, see "Cursive".
Penmanship or handwriting is the art of writing with the hand and a writing instrument. Styles of handwriting are also called hands or scripts.


Ancient Roman handwriting styles included Roman cursive, and the more calligraphic rustic capitals and square capitals, the latter of which forms the basis for modern capital letters and was used in stone inscriptions. With the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages, new scripts developed from the old Roman ones, such as uncial and later blackletter. The Carolingian period saw the development of Carolingian minuscule, the basis for modern lower case letters, and the era saw a vast improvement in the quality of penmanship.
Carolingian script was more easily readable and led to the creation of new manuscripts. The period is often described as a Carolingian Renaissance. The 15th century Renaissance saw a return to the square capitals of the classical period and the minuscule of the Carolingian period, from which modern Roman-based scripts developed.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in part because printing replaced most formal communications, handwriting became cramped, small, and difficult to read. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw another revival of clean formalized handwriting. In the early twenty-first century, with the increasing popularity of electronic communication, some note a decline in the quality of penmanship similar to that brought on by the advent of printing. In the present time, handwriting tends to be a mixture of cursive and printing; some consider this as evidence of the decline of handwriting.
penmanship in Official Aramaic (700-300 BCE): ܟܬܒܬܐ
penmanship in Czech: Psací písmo
penmanship in German: Schreibschrift
penmanship in French: Manuscriture
penmanship in Hebrew: כתב יד (כתב)
penmanship in Dutch: Handschrift (persoon)
penmanship in Japanese: 筆跡
penmanship in Russian: Почерк
penmanship in Finnish: Käsiala
penmanship in Swedish: Handstil

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1