Synonyms in Unicode Terminology

From: Mirko Raner (
Date: Wed Jan 27 1999 - 15:18:21 EST

Hello Unicoders out there,

thanks for all answers to my posting concerning typographic units of measurement
(I really didn't want to start such a big discussion).

I am currently working on a company-internal introduction to Unicode and maybe
I discovered some terminological blur. Please consider the following four sets
of Unicode-related terms:

- script / alphabet
- character set / repertoire
- font / typeface / glyph collection
- glyph / glyph shape / glyph image / glyph representation

I would like to hear some opinions on the relation of these words. Are some of
them synonyms or are they just often treated as synonyms and do actually have a
different meaning? If so, what exactly is the difference?

There are some documents (the Unicode Standard itself, ISO/IEC PDTR 15285, and
many others) which contain definitions for the above terms (or at least for a
subset), but unfortunately they are not consistent in many cases.

All contributions are welcome. Please send a copy to!

Thanks in advance,

Mirko Raner
Software Developer
MATHEMA Software GmbH

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