< Previous | Next >
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Hello Cecilio,

    I believe it means that in the printing, the type faces have been jumbled up - giving an assortment of fonts. One often finds examples of this in modern poetry.
    I think The Scrivener is correct. Many decades ago, when I was a printer's devil, the young apprentice who does all the dirty work in a printer's shop, I was required to sort and replace all the pied type in the proper places in the job case. That's where pieces of metal or wooden type were stored. Not much fun when the type is six point. There are 72 points to an inch.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Here's another vote for jumbled types. This is from M-W:
    Main Entry: 3pi
    Variant(s): also pie
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): pied; pi·ing or pie·ing
    Date: 1889

    transitive verb :
    to spill or throw (type or type matter) into disorder
    intransitive verb :
    to become pied


    Senior Member
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    Thank you all for your posts. i've been searchinf the web and I have discovered that apparenttly the word "pied" is the past participole of the verb "pi" (also spelt "pie") which is connected with the concept of "mixing, jumbling types". It can be applied to other semantic fields, with the idea of "jumbling". I suppose that a "pied verse" would be one whose lines or words have been jumbled.

    By the way, have you ever heard of an odder verb: "to pi"? I suppose it's not used at all nowadays, at least with that spelling.

    The Scrivener

    England. English
    Consulting my 1897 "Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language" I see "pie - unsorted printer's type. The unsorted type is called pie, or pi, short for pica, from the common use of pica-type."

    "Also pie - a book which ordered the manner of performing divine service. A French form of the Latin pica, which was an old name for the Ordinale; so called from the confused appearance of the black-letter type on white paper, resembling a magpie. Certain sizes of type are still called pica."

    I found this very interesting tome only yesterday, at the bargain price of 50p ($1)! Didn't think I'd be putting it to good use already. :cool:
    < Previous | Next >