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Catchwords

Words which appear at the bottom or top of a folio, and are generally the first words of the next quire. They were used to aid in the correct ordering of quires. Catchwords are not always present in manuscripts because they are often cut off or lost in the original or subsequent bindings of the manuscript. While catchwords were written to allow the correct sequencing of quires through repeated words, 'quire signatures' are a similar codicological phenomenon; these are letters or numbers that provide the sequencing of quires, often appearing on the first or second leaf of the quire.