Where does Lorem ipsum come from? (Graphic: Shutterstock / IrenD)

Everybody has already read or even used “Lorem ipsum” somewhere. But where exactly does the phrase come from and what should it mean?

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet” are probably the most widely used words on the web. But almost no one knows the origin or even its meaning. Nowadays the well-known text is mainly used by developers and designers.

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisic elit.”

More specifically, it is often used in designing a layout that does not yet have a finished text. So a kind of placeholder to already recognize the basic structure.

What does Lorem ipsum actually mean?

Who had Latin lessons in the school and digs a little in the brain, probably two things: First, the text sounds somehow Latin and secondly, what exactly was called “Lorem” again? I can calm you down. Your brain works great because the word “Lorem” does not exist in Latin or any other real language – the word sequence is a dummy text. Nevertheless, letters and word lengths are distributed in the Lorem ipsum text similar to the natural Latin language.

This edition of Cicero's "De finibus" shows the page break and the resulting separation of the word "dolorem". (Image: Wikipedia / Harvard University Press)
This edition of Cicero’s “De finibus” shows the page break and the resulting separation of the word “dolorem”. (Image: Wikipedia / Harvard University Press)

The exact origin of the text can not be traced back with complete certainty. It is suspected in the philosophical work  De finibus bonorum et malorum of the Roman orator and philosopher Cicero. There, some words in a sentence coincide with the beginning of the Lorem-ipsum construct. At one point it is said: “Neque porro quisquam est, qui do lorem  ipsum , quia dolor sit , amet , consectetur , adipisci velit […].” Translated, this means something like: “Further, there is no one who has the Pain loves for its own sake, who seeks and wants it, simply because it is pain […]. “It probably became dolorem zu  lorem , because in an edition of Cicero’s 1914 work, a page break separated the word dolorem . The new site started with “lorem ipsum”.

Lorem ipsum generators use Cicero’s work

So the text has some meaning, but sometimes not. While previously the few lorem ipsum lines were dull repeated, today Cicero’s work actually serves as the basis for many lorem ipsum generators . As a result, the text looks like a real one at first glance and ensures a better presentation. Especially designers often use it for this reason.

Using Lorem ipsum as a placeholder is meanwhile even so common that often a warning message appears in the electronic print preparation, if the text to be printed still contains the dummy text. Even Microsoft Word and Latex can generate such a blind text.


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Where does Lorem ipsum come from? (Graphic: Shutterstock / IrenD) Everybody has already read or even used “Lorem ipsum” somewhere. But where exactly does the phrase...

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Where does Lorem ipsum come from? (Graphic: Shutterstock / IrenD) Everybody has already read or even used “Lorem ipsum” somewhere. But where exactly does the phrase...

Read Post