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Kashida (Persian: کشیده) is a type of justification used in some cursive scripts, particularly Arabic. In contrast to white-space justification, which increases the length of a line of text by expanding spaces between words or individual letters, kashida justification is accomplished by elongating characters at certain chosen points. Kashida justification can be combined with white-space justification to various extents.
The analog in European (Latin-based) typography (expanding or contracting letters to improve spacing) is sometimes called expansion, and falls within microtypography. Kashida is considerably easier and more flexible, however, because Arabic-Persian scripts feature prominent horizontal strokes, whose length is accordingly flexible.
For example, alħamdu and Raħīm with and without kashida may look like the following:
Normal Kashida alħamdu الحمد الحمــــــد Raħīm رحيم رحــــــيم
Kashida can also refer to a character representing this elongation (ـ) (also known as tatweel or taṭwīl - تطويل taṭwīl), or to one of a set of glyphs of varying lengths that are used to implement this elongation in a font. The Unicode standard assigns codepoint U+0640 as "Arabic Tatweel".
Kashida or Keshida is a Persian word meaning extended or drawn.
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