At 11:15 17/12/2005 -0500, Fred Ridder wrote, quoting from online sources:
>. . .
>The glossary at
>says this:
>- 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".

>But at
>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,
PO Box 315, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2ZD, England
Tel.: +44 (0)1582 762413  Fax: +44 (0)870 055 8105  

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