What Does Lorem Ipsum Actually Mean?

What Does Lorem Ipsum Actually Mean?
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You might’ve seen the phrase ‘lorem ipsum’ used in placeholder graphics, text bodies or website pages before. It’s been used for many purposes over the years, even as recently as this week during Samsung’s cheeky Pixel 4a date reveal. But what exactly does the phrase mean?

Lorem Ipsum meaning

Strangely enough, the phrase is actually gibberish, but its origins and purpose are far more interesting than its meaning.

‘Lorem ipsum’ is a made-up phrase designed to resemble Latin. It’s been used by typographers for several decades as a way to fill blank spaces and draw viewers’ eyes towards a website’s layout rather than its text.

It’s common for viewers to be distracted by text when viewing the design of a page, so using some made-up nonsense is an easier way to focus attention on the desired page elements rather than its readable words. This is why it’s more common to see the phrase in the world of design, type-setting and publishing.

The full phrase typically reads as follows:

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

Adoption

The phrase was adopted widely in the 1960s when typeface Letraset sheets began including the it. This happened again in the 1990s when computing software began integrating it within its publishing software. It even appears in Microsoft Word.

Lorem ipsum’s exact origins are unconfirmed, but Latin professor Richard McClintock speculated in the 1980s it was originally a jumbled translation of the philosophical Roman work de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum written by Cicero. The line in question reads, “Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit …” and is directly translated as, “There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..”

It’s believed this phrase was either mis-translated or re-interpreted by a printer in the 1500s, who then began using the phrase in templates for type-setting text. Since then, the practice has been widely adopted.

So, the next time you see ‘lorem ipsum’ being used, try not to stare too much — the phrase is designed to go unseen.


This article has been updated since its original publication.