Glossary of Early Modern Popular Print Genres



Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt etc. (Amsterdam: Jan van Hilten (publisher) and Joris Veseler (printer), 8 August 1626). The Hague, KB, National Library of the Netherlands; Delpher.

Other languages

  • Dutch: courant, gazette 
  • French: gazette 
  • German: Courante 
  • Italian: gazzetta 
  • Spanish: correo 

Material form



The Dutch courant (in modern Dutch often shortened to krant) derived its name from the French words courrier (meaning a running messenger) and courant (referring to a current, for example in a river). As a loanword, in 16th- and 17th-century Dutch it referred primarily to a circulation, first especially in relation to money, later also to the circulation of news. Sometimes it was translated into Dutch as loop-maeren, using the Dutch, rather than French word for running/walking (lopen). The Courant was the title of the first Dutch newspaper in 1618. In the Low Countries the term was more or less synonymous with gazette, both as names for newspapers and as a generic description for different genres of printed news media.  

The term was taken up in English as coranto or courant, and here too it was widely used at the time as synonymous with gazette, meaning a printed publication providing relations, news, and advices. Similar to gazette, the English courant could initially be connoted with sensational and unreliable news, but in the course of the 17th century became more neutral in meaning. 

Despite the term’s French origins, courant was not used in France for news publications. Instead, French newspapers were commonly called gazette, or, from the late 18th century on, journal. In Italy the term coranto was not used. A public newsletter was referred to as gazzetta

Related terms

courant, gazette


P. Arblaster, A. Belo, C. Espejo, S. Haffemayer, M. Infelise, N. Moxham, J. Raymond, N. Schobesberger, ‘The Lexicons of Early Modern News’, in: J. Raymond and N. Moxham (eds.), News Networks in Early Modern Europe (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2016), 64-101.

F. Dahl, A Bibliography of English Corantos and Periodical Newsbooks, 1620–1642 (London: Bibliographical Society, 1952).

J. Hyde, J. Raymond, M. Rospocher, Y. Ryan, A. Schaffer, H. Salmi, Communicating the News in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge Elements series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023).

A. Kalinowska, ‘“Wee have Tidings out of Polonia”: English Corantos, News Networks, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’, in: S.F. Davies, P. Fletcher (eds.), News in Early Modern Europe. Currents and Connections (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 41-57.

H. Scott, ‘Travel and Communications’, in: H. Scott (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, 1350-1750: Volume I: Peoples and Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 165-191.

Modified on: 22/06/2023