Word of the Day – Thursday, February 8th



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The right-hand, or odd-numbered page, of a book
Common clues:
Right-hand page; Verso's opposite; Odd-numbered page; Front of a manuscript leaf; Start of a chapter, usually; Folio page; Half a leaf
Related crosswordese: VERSO
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year
Turning the pages of an eBook

The recto is the right-hand page and the verso the left-hand page of a folded sheet or bound item, such as a book, broadsheet, or pamphlet. These are terms of art in the binding, printing, and publishing industries, and can be applied more broadly to any field where physical documents are exchanged.

The term recto-verso describes two-sided printing. It is the norm for books, but was an important advantage of the printing-press over the much older Asian woodblock printing method, which printed by rubbing from behind the page being printed, and so could only print on one side of a piece of paper.

The distinction between recto and verso can be convenient in the annotation of scholarly books, particularly in bilingual edition translations.

A religious scripture that makes use of the recto and verso distinction is the Ginza Rba of Mandaeism, in which two separate narratives cover the opposite-facing pages.

The "recto" and "verso" terms can also be employed for the front and back of a one-sheet artwork, particularly in drawing. A recto-verso drawing is a sheet with drawings on both sides, for example in a sketchbook—although usually in these cases there is no obvious primary side. Some works are planned to exploit being on two sides of the same piece of paper, but usually the works are not intended to be considered together. Paper was relatively expensive in the past; indeed good drawing paper still is much more expensive than normal paper.

A 2001 exhibit at Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University displayed recto-verso drawings from the Renaissance to the present.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Recto and verso"