Glossary Of Terms

The PRINTING United Alliance Glossary of Terms serves as an excellent industry terminology resource. It is the language by which we all communicate, without it universal understanding would be impossible. Language and our ideas about how it is interpreted change rapidly. PRINTING United Alliance is aware of this and continues its effort to keep our constituents well informed about changes to the increasingly complex industry terminology. The definitions are for general reference only. Usage may vary between companies, individuals, or national and country customs. The information presented is as accurate as the authors and editors can ascertain and PRINTING United Alliance assumes no responsibility for the use of information presented herein.


  • Adjustable camera
    A camera with manually adjustable distance settings, lens openings and shutter speeds.
  • Adjustable focus
    Describes a camera lens that has adjustable distance settings.
  • Adjustable frame (adjustable mesh holder)
    An adjustable screen printing chase with side members capable of moving toward or from the center of the chase, to which the mesh is attached for tensioning or register control; refer to retensionable frame.
  • Adjustable stroke
    A means of mechanical control of the distance that the squeegee travels in screen printing.
  • Adsorption
    (1) The concentration of molecules of a particular kind of the inter-face between the pigment and vehicle in screen printing inks, can effectively remove a component such as the drier from an ink vehicle; (2) A surface phenomena, in which liquid or gaseous molecules are retained on the surface of another substance; (3) The adhesion of molecules to a surface; (4) An effect of light striking an object where the light energy is absorbed and re-emitted at longer wavelengths; (5) In optics, the loss in transmission of light, as through a transparent or translucent material.
  • Advertising specialty
    Any novelty item that can be imprinted, and usually given to customers as a promotional article.
  • Affected facility
    Within the meaning of the Clean Air Act (US), refers to a stationary source of air pollutants, or any apparatus to which a federal standard is applicable.
  • Affinity
    The attraction between an adhesive and an adherent.
  • After burner
    An air pollution device that removes noxious gases and vapors through incineration.
  • After tack
    Stickiness that develops in an ink film after it has apparently dried, or after a heat drying operation.
  • Against the grain
    At right angles to the grain direction of the paper.
  • Agate
    Unit of measurement for depth of columns for advertising space; 14 agate lines equals one inch (2.54 cm).
  • Agate burnisher
    An agate tipped tool used for rubbing and polishing silver and gold decorations.
  • Age resistance
    To resist deterioration from oxygen, ozone, heat, light, or internal chemical action.
  • Agglomerate
    To collect or gather particles in a weakly bonded mass; a clustering of undispersed particles usually pigments.
  • Aggregate
    To collect or gather in strongly bonded mass.
  • Aggressiveness
    A means of comparatively categorizing adhesive products by degree of tackiness and speed with which bond occurs.
  • Aging
    (1) The change or changes undergone by a material as a result of the passage of time; (2) (Steaming) The curing of screen printed decorations on textiles by application of moist heat to fix the colors into the fibers and to remove the stiffness (hand) induced by normally air dried imprints.
  • Agitation
    Keeping a solution, or a substance in a solution, in motion during processing.
  • Air bells
    (1) Surface defects in paper, sometimes called blisters or foam marks; (2) Air bubbles sometime found in photo emulsion after stirring in sensitizers.
  • Air brush
    (1) A pencil-shaped device for spraying liquid by means of compressed air, used for retouching photographic prints to improve tonal value, for spraying inks, or for producing special effects on film positives; (2) A tool found in most graphic software packages that provides the effect of spraying a paint air mixture over an image.
  • Air bubbles
    Bubbles of air adhering to the surface of a photographic negative, positive, carbon tissue, etc., when surface is immersed in solution.
  • Air conditioning
    Regulation by mechanical means of temperature and air circulation within a selected enclosed area.
  • Air contaminant
    Any substance of either man-made or natural origin in the ambient air such as dust, gas, fumes, mist (other than H2O), smoke, heat, and noise.
  • Air knife (air jet)
    The tiny holes or slots in the sheet, plate, or similar configuration within a drying system through which air is forced under compression onto the surface of freshly printed substrate to accelerate drying; also referred to as air jet.