Various glyphs representing the lower case letter "a"; they are allographs of the grapheme "a"
The adjacent characters ſi represented as one glyph (typographic ligature)

In typography, a glyph f/ is an elemental symbol within an agreed set of symbols, intended to represent a readable character for the purposes of writing. Glyphs are considered to be unique marks that collectively add up to the spelling of a word or contribute to a specific meaning of what is written, with that meaning dependent on cultural and social usage.


In contrast, in most languages written in any variety of the Latin alphabet, the dot on a lower-case i is not a glyph because it does not convey any distinction, and an i in which the dot has been accidentally omitted is still likely to be recognized correctly. However, in Turkish it is a glyph because that language has two distinct versions of the letter i, with and without a dot. Also, in Japanese syllabaries, a number of the characters are made up of more than one separate mark, but in general these separate marks are not glyphs because they have no meaning by themselves. However, in some cases, additional marks fulfill the role of diacritics, to differentiate distinct characters. Such additional marks constitute glyphs. In general, a diacritic is a glyph, even if it is contiguous with the rest of the character like a cedilla in French, the ogonek in several languages, or the stroke on a Polish "Ł".

Some characters such as "æ" in Icelandic and the "ß" in German may be regarded as glyphs, yet they were originally ligatures, but over time have become characters in their own right, and these languages treat them as separate letters. However, a ligature such as "ſi", that is treated in some typefaces as a single unit, is arguably not a glyph as this is just a quirk of the typeface, essentially an allographic feature, and includes more than one grapheme. In normal handwriting, even long words are often written "joined up", without the pen leaving the paper, and the form of each written letter will often vary depending on which letters precede and follow it, but that does not make the whole word into a single glyph.

Two or more glyphs which have the same significance, whether used interchangeably or chosen depending on context, are called allographs of each other.

Other Languages
العربية: صورة رمزية
Bân-lâm-gú: Jī-tô͘
беларуская: Гліф
български: Глиф
català: Glif
čeština: Glyf
Cymraeg: Glyff
Deutsch: Glyphe
eesti: Glüüf
Ελληνικά: Γλύφος
español: Glifo
Esperanto: Signobildo
فارسی: گلیف
français: Glyphe
Gaeilge: Glif
galego: Glifo
한국어: 자체
Bahasa Indonesia: Glif
italiano: Glifo
Kreyòl ayisyen: Glif
македонски: Глиф
Nederlands: Glief
日本語: 字体
norsk: Glyf
norsk nynorsk: Glyff
occitan: Glif
português: Glifo
română: Glifă
русский: Глиф
Scots: Glyph
Simple English: Glyph
slovenčina: Glyf (znak)
српски / srpski: Глиф
suomi: Glyyfi
svenska: Glyf
Tagalog: Glipo
Türkçe: Glif
українська: Гліф
اردو: منقوشہ
中文: 字形