"complete set of characters of a particular face and size of printing type," 1680s (also fount); earlier "a casting" (1570s); from French fonte "a casting," noun use of fem. past participle of fondre "to melt," from Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "to melt, cast, pour out" (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour"). So called because all the letters in a given set were cast at the same time.
"water basin," especially used in baptism, late Old English, from Latin fons (genitive fontis) "fountain" (see fountain), especially in Medieval Latin fons baptismalis "baptismal font." The word is sometimes used poetically for "a fountain; a source."
also type-face, 1852, "top of a type," from type (n.) in the printing sense + face (n.). In modern common usage, synonymous with font (n.2), but there is a technical distinction: the typeface is the set of characters of the same design; the font is the physical (or electronic) means of producing them.
"spring of water," 1590s, probably a shortening of fountain influenced by French font "fount." Figurative use also is from 1590s.
variety of banded, colored quartz, 1560s, from French agate, from Latin achates, from Greek akhatēs, the name of a river in Sicily where the stones were found (Pliny). But the river could as easily be named for the stone.
Earlier in English as achate (early 13c.), directly from Latin. The Elizabethan sense of "a diminutive person" is from the small figures cut in agates for seals, etc., and the notion of smallness is preserved in typographer's agate (1838), the U.S. name of the 5.5-point font called in Great Britain ruby. Meaning "toy marble made of glass resembling agate" is from 1843 (colloquially called an aggie). Related: Agatine.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to pour, pour a libation."
It forms all or part of: alchemy; chyle; chyme; confound; confuse; diffuse; diffusion; effuse; effusion; effusive; fondant; fondue; font (n.2) "complete set of characters of a particular face and size of type;" found (v.2) "to cast metal;" foundry; funnel; fuse (v.) "to melt, make liquid by heat;" fusible; fusion; futile; futility; geyser; gush; gust (n.) "sudden squall of wind;" gut; infuse; ingot; parenchyma; perfuse; perfusion; profuse; refund; refuse (v.) "reject, disregard, avoid;" refuse (n.) "waste material, trash;" suffuse; suffusion; transfuse; transfusion.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek khein "to pour," khoane "funnel," khymos "juice;" Latin fundere (past participle fusus) "melt, cast, pour out;" Gothic giutan, Old English geotan "to pour;" Old English guttas (plural) "bowels, entrails;" Old Norse geysa "to gush;" German Gosse "gutter, drain."
not in the Roman alphabet, but the Modern English sound it represents is close to the devocalized consonant expressed by Roman -U- or -V-. In Old English, this originally was written -uu-, but by 8c. began to be expressed by the runic character wyn (Kentish wen), which looked like this: ƿ (the character is a late addition to the online font set and doesn't display properly on many computers, so it's something like a combination of lower-case -p- and a reversed -y-).
In 11c., Norman scribes introduced -w-, a ligatured doubling of Roman -u- which had been used on the continent for the Germanic "w" sound, and wyn disappeared c. 1300. -W- is not properly a letter in the modern French alphabet, and it is used there only in borrowed foreign words, such as wagon, weekend, Western, whisky, wombat. Charles Mackay ("Extraordinary Popular delusions and the Madness of Crowds") reports that the Scotsman John Law, author of the Mississippi stock swindle of 1720, was known in France as Monsieur Lass "to avoid the ungallic sound, aw."