"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.
mid-14c., screne, "upright piece of furniture providing protection from heat of a fire, drafts, etc.," probably from a shortened (Anglo-French? compare Anglo-Latin screna) variant of Old North French escren, Old French escran "fire-screen, tester of a bed" (early 14c.). This is of uncertain origin, though probably from a Germanic source, perhaps from Middle Dutch scherm "screen, cover, shield," or Frankish *skrank "barrier," from Proto-Germanic *skirmjanan(source also of Old High German skirm, skerm "protection," Old Frisian skirma "protect, defend;" from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut").
The sense of "anything interposed to conceal from view" is by c. 1600. The meaning "net-wire frame used in windows and doors" is recorded from 1859. Meaning "flat vertical surface for reception of projected images" is from 1810, originally in reference to magic lantern shows; later of movies. Transferred sense of "cinema world collectively" is attested from 1914; hence screen test "filmed test of performing abilities" (1918), etc.
The meaning "small fluorescent display on a TV set" is by 1946, extended to the display on a computer monitor by 1970, hence the monitor itself. The computer screen saver is attested by 1990. The meaning "window of an automobile" is by 1904. As a type of maneuver in sports, by 1934 (U.S. football, screen-pass). Screen printing recorded from 1918. Screen-door is from 1840. Screen-time "time spent watching a computer or television screen" is by 1999.
"to shield from punishment, protect from inconvenience or danger; to conceal," late 15c., from screen (n.). Meaning "sift by passing through a screen" is by 1660s; the meaning "examine systematically for suitability" is from 1943, a word from World War II. The sense of "release a movie" is from 1915. The U.S. sporting sense is by 1922. Related: Screened; screening.
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.