What is the name and use of the extra bow on the letter c in Doctrine? Diacritic or calligraphic decoration, or misprint?

enter image description here

Edit: With the name given in the comments, I found an existing good answer here: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/25118/is-there-any-significance-in-little-curls-joining-the-st-and-ct-in-old-books


2 Answers 2


It is not a diacritic, it is a ligature. These are probably more common in older typesetting.

The same thing can be done with the sequence <st> as with <ct>.

  • BTW the combination is a ligature. What is the name of that specific diacritic, if it even has a name?
    – user6726
    Oct 7, 2020 at 14:27
  • 2
    @user6726 what diacritic are you referring to? There isn't one in the rendition of "ct" up there; it's only a graphical variation. Oct 7, 2020 at 15:41
  • 1
    The "hook" is a frequent diacritic between t and certain consonants in older manuscripts. I don't care if you don't like the name "diacritic": my question is what that character is called. Do you have a reason to not call it a diacritic? For example, what do you call "cedilla", "tilde" and so on?
    – user6726
    Oct 7, 2020 at 15:58
  • 9
    @user6726 The name of the character is, or would be, "C-T ligature". Even if what you're looking for existed, it would be considered a typographical term like "serif", "swash", etc. not a diacritic.
    – Nardog
    Oct 7, 2020 at 16:28

I just wanted to add a brief comment re: the name of the connecting element in question.

I personally haven't seen any standardised term for it. Sometimes it is referred to as a bow or a loop (e.g. the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed.). Descriptively, it is a semicircular stroke above ct.

I'm not quite sure why - perhaps @Cerberus or someone else could corroborate this - but I think it is so because it would be rather superfluous. The most common way to refer to ct is either the ct-ligature or ligatured ct, which already implies presence/use of the connecting symbol, so really there is no need to have a special term for it.

see below, for instance, a screenshot from Delorez 2006 The Palaeography of Gothic manuscript books: From the twelfth to the early sixteenth century:

enter image description here


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.