In a square-angled bracket, what is the name of the short horizontal lines at the top/bottom of the vertical line? ex. [ ]

2 Answers 2


Depending on how the glyph is constructed, "arm" is probably your best bet. Some brackets are drawn in such a way that they might pass as serifs, though.

  • Nope. You'll find an "arm" on the cap Y, though. Bars are horizontal.
    – Stan
    Aug 29, 2013 at 2:04
  • @Stan I'm not saying you're wrong, but I would like a source citation before I consider updating. My reference said that a bar "differs from an arm and a cross stroke because each end connects to a stem or stroke" and that an arm "is the horizontal stroke on some characters that does not connect to a stroke or stem at one or both ends."
    – Brendan
    Aug 29, 2013 at 13:44
  • I would agree with you; but, then we'd both be wrong. My reference goes to anatomy. A Y and a T both have two "arms" while the K has one "arm" and a "tail." By your reference, an E has 3 "arms" (a physical freak). The terms developed to describe the look of the letters
    – Stan
    Aug 29, 2013 at 20:43
  • How can a horizontal stroke on some letters not connect to a stroke or stem at one or both ends? Wouldn't that define a dash? Maybe consult with other correct references? They may draw a finer distinction between the terms, arm and bar. ... I may not be right; but, I'm never in doubt.
    – Stan
    Aug 29, 2013 at 21:12
  • @Stan: I think it means "has at least one end which is not connected". Thus, the horizontal line of an "H" would be a "bar" since both ends of it connect to other members.
    – supercat
    Aug 17, 2014 at 18:09

They are called bars. If horizontal bars cross the stroke, they are called crossbars.

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