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I came across a quote that had a word italicized, followed by the parenthetical explanation that "the italics are ours" (the italics are mine there). This is common. But it said (in Spanish), "Los bastardillas son nuestras" (the italics were theirs there).

I thought the word for italics was "cursiva"; and the word "bastarda" means "bastard"

So: why was "bastardilla" use here instead of "cursiva" and, is there some connection between italics and bastards and, if so, what?

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They are almost synonyms. Cursiva can also mean handwriting, while bastardilla means just printed letters resembling handwriting (slanted to the right, etc.).

Letra bastardilla comes from letra bastarda, which was how cursive handwriting was called.

Nowadays, everyday software has popularized cursiva and itálica at the expense of bastardilla, which remains as a somewhat obscure technical term.

See es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastardilla

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