"type of printing with lines sloping to the right," 1610s, from Latin italicus "Italian, of Italy," from Italia (see Italy). 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 his edition of Virgil, which was dedicated to Italy. As a noun, "italic type," 1670s.
[Italics] pull up the reader and tell him not to read heedlessly on, or he will miss some peculiarity in the italicized word. [Fowler]
Earlier (1570s) the word was used in English for the plain, sloping style of handwriting (opposed to gothic), and italic printing sometimes in English was called cursive (and also Aldine). Often, but not always, for emphasis; in manuscripts indicated by an underscored line. Related: Italics.
The Italic words in the Old and New Testament are those, which have no corresponding words in the original Hebrew or Greek; but are added by the translators, to complete or explain the sense. [Joseph Robertson, "An Essay on Punctuation," 1785]
noun and adjective, Old English, "of or pertaining to ancient Rome; an inhabitant or native of ancient Rome," from Latin Romanus "of Rome, Roman," from Roma "Rome" (see Rome). The adjective is c. 1300, from Old French Romain. The Old English adjective was romanisc, which yielded Middle English Romanisshe.
In reference to a type of numeral (usually contrasted to Arabic) it is attested from 1728; as a type of lettering (based on the upright style typical of Roman inscriptions, contrasted to Gothic, or black letter, and italic) it is recorded from 1510s. The Roman nose, having a prominent upper part, is so called by 1620s. The Roman candle as a type of fireworks is recorded from 1834. Roman Catholic is attested from c. 1600, a conciliatory formation from the time of the Spanish Match, replacing Romanist, Romish which by that time had the taint of insult in Protestant England.
Not a separate constellation in ancient Greece, where it was khelae, "the claws" of adjacent Skorpios. Nativized in Old Norse as skala-merki. Meaning "person born under the sign of Libra" is from 1894. Related: Libral; Libran.
also aestivate, "to spend the summer," 1620s, from Latin aestivatus, past participle of aestivare "reside during the summer" from aestus "heat," aestas "summer," literally "the hot season," from Proto-Italic *aissat-, from PIE *eidh- "to burn" (see edifice). Related: Estivated; estivating; estivation.