italic Look up italic at Dictionary.com
1610s (adj.), 1670s (n.) "italic type," from Latin italicus "Italian" (see Italian); so called because it was introduced in 1501 by Aldus Manutius, printer of Venice (who also gave his name to Aldine), and first used in an edition of Virgil dedicated to Italy. Earlier (1570s) the word was used for the plain, sloping style of handwriting, as opposed to Gothic. Related: Italics.