Serif vs seraph

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Serif and seraph are two words that are pronounced and spelled similarly but have different meanings. We will look at the difference in meaning between these easily confused words, where the words come from, and some examples of their use in sentences.

A serif is the small, projecting line that is the end stroke of a letter in certain fonts. Examples of serif fonts are Times New Roman, Courier and Aurora. Some believe that serif typeface is easier to read, though scientific studies are inconclusive. The word serif is most probably derived from the Dutch term schreef das.

A seraph is an angel. In the Christian tradition, a seraph is a member of the highest order of the nine orders of angels. In Jewish tradition, a seraph is a member of the fifth of ten orders of angels. Often, a seraph is depicted as a child’s head with wings, or a being with six wings. The plural form is seraphim, though seraphs is sometimes seen. The word seraph is in fact a back-formation from the word seraphim, which in Hebrew, is śĕrāp̱īm.


Simpler fonts, without all the details and design elements that come with serifs, would render cleaner on those lower-resolution screens. (Bloomberg News)

Angel Olsen may sing like a seraph, but never ever take her for granted. (The Straits Times)

The angel – a seraph, most likely, since it has six wings – is depicted in mosaic high on the wall of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. (The Telegraph)

“On behalf of Motailatu Church Cherubim & Seraphim Worldwide, we pray for President Buhari, Senators, House of Representative members, governors and other political leaders that God should grant them the wisdom, energy and other relative enablement to govern effectively well, for the growth of our beloved country in 2017,” he stated. (The Nation)