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This is found fairly often in examples, but I found no explanation what \bfd actually is. It is never mentioned in the manual. So, what is it?

6

All the different font switches are explained on the Font Switching page in the Garden.

To answer your question, \bfd selects bold face in the font size corresponding to the factor d, by default d = 2.074.

You can look up all the default values for these factors in font-pre.mkiv.

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