Lorem Ipsum

Reviewed by: Chad Bryant
Last Updated: August 14, 2020

Definition - What does Lorem Ipsum mean?

Lorem ipsum, in graphical and textual context, refers to filler text that is placed in a document or visual presentation. Lorem ipsum is derived from the Latin "dolorem ipsum" roughly translated as "pain itself."

Lorem ipsum presents the sample font and orientation of writing on web pages and other software applications where content is not the main concern of the developer.

Techopedia explains Lorem Ipsum

Lorem ipsum is the filler text that typically demonstrates the font and style of a text in a document or visual demonstration. It serves as a place holder indicating where the text will be in the final iteration.

Originally from Latin, Lorem ipsum has no intelligible meaning. It is simply a display of letters to be viewed as a sample with given graphical elements in a file.

"Lipsum" (a portmanteau of lorem and ipsum) generators are commonly used to form generic text in a file. The words are adequately like normal text to demonstrate a font, without distracting the reader with its content.

It has been used by printers as placeholder text since the 16th century.

Richard McClintock discovered the origins of the words Lorem Ipsum back in 1982, who published his findings in 1994 in a letter to the editor of Before & After magazine who wrongly claimed that the passage had no meaning.

In fact, it originates from a treatise on the theory of ethics written by Cicero in 45 BC: "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil).

The passage that is usually used is the one below:

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.”

However, although it looks like Latin, the original words from Cicero have been scrambled and interjected with meaningless filler text for reasons that defy history.

According to McClintock, but it’s just a theory, a part of the original text was scrambled by 15th century typesetter who needed placeholder text to mockup various fonts for a type specimen book.

No matter what the true history may be, today Lorem ipsum is widely used since it closely resembles English more than Latin, creating a natural looking block of text that doesn’t distract the reader from the layout.

The passage became popularized in the 1960s when Letraset used it to advertise their dry-transfer sheets. It reached the digital world between the 1980s and 1990s when Aldus bundled the text in the word-processing templates of their desktop publishing software PageMaker.

Later on, it was widely adopted by other word processors, such as Microsoft Word; and by content management system tools, such as Wordpress for stock websites, page templates, and themes.

Today, a large number of variations of Lorem ipsum actually exist.

On the Internet, there are many generators that repeat predefined chunks and combine them with model sentences to create believable structures.

Some of them inject the random text with random Latin words, humor or even profanities.

In fact, it can be argued that Lorem Ipsum generators are the first true generator that ever hit the Internet.

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