At 11:15 17/12/2005 -0500, Fred Ridder wrote, quoting from online sources:
>. . .
>The glossary at
>- A widow occurs when the last line of a paragraph from the
> previous page flows onto the top of the next page.
>- An orphan occurs when the first line of a new paragraph starts
> at bottom of a page.
+++ I take these to be the correct traditional definitions. However, the
OED does not restrict "widow" to top of page or column -- "A short line at
the end of a paragraph, esp. one which is set at the top of a page or
column, or which contains only (part of) one word, and is therefore
considered unsightly." -- as do Collins ("short line") and American
Heritage ("usually short line"), although Chambers ("short last line") and
the Concise Oxford ("short last line") do. The OED, Concise Oxford, Collins
and American Heritage have no entries for the typographical usage of
"orphan"; Chambers cross refers it to "club-line", "a short line at the end
of a paragraph".
>you'll find the following:
>- Don't leave orphans! (a word or short line at the top of a column
> or page).
+++ They mean widows.
>- Avoid widows! (a single word on a line by itself at the end of a
> paragraph with no one to love).
+++ They mean club-lines.
>- Never hyphenate a widow. For that matter, never hyphenate
> an orphaned widow! (typographic counseling is recommended
> for individuals with this problem)
+++ Can't disagree.
I guess that "orphan" has been dragged into confusing use because "widow"
leaves a conceptual space aching to be filled. After all, Nature abhors a
vacuum, as was confirmed by a Gary Larson cartoon character anxiously
pushing her hoover* through a dark and threatening forest.
I have to admit that one of my authors (a very competent and well read
author) thought I was nuts to worry about club-lines.
[* We Brits use this as a generic term for vacuum cleaner, an upright one
in the context above.]
All the best
Roger Jones, Terra Publishing, http://www.terrapublishing.net
PO Box 315, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2ZD, England
Tel.: +44 (0)1582 762413 Fax: +44 (0)870 055 8105