What the Heck is Lorem Ipsum? How Cicero’s Misread Message Became The ‘Norm’ for Text Box Filler

lorem ipsum

Many millennia ago, or actually, precisely rather two, lived a cool cat named Cicero. Well really, he was a man, who disagreed with many of the things publicly spoken at the time, and wasn’t exactly afraid to ‘voice his opinion’ some people who had the pleasure of meeting him today might say.

His fame as the rhetorician of Rome leaves us with plenty of his works to regard and read over even two-thousand years later. So much so, that many scholars attribute their translations and understanding of Latin as a language almost entirely to Cicero’s prose pieces alone, since Latin poetry can be ten times deeper and harder to understand then our own English poems (if you had to study Shakespeare in High-school you’ll know what I’m talking about), Cicero’s letters provide us a deep understanding of the language and how to formulate and express entire arguments in a dead language.

When I first came across this jargon I thought it was actual Latin, and did what any Classical nerd would do, I began to try translating it… Needless to say I wasn’t successful. Because it’s a bunch of non-sense.

It became the standard filler for typesetting and webpages everywhere since no one is going to make the error of mistaking this dead language for their own.

Famous painting depicting Cicero’s Self-Reliant-Thinking – Artist Unknown. But this has been my Personal Facebook cover photo for years…

Seen in use as early as the 16th Century, not too long after the invention and commercialization of the magnificent and world-changing printing press in 1450, when some typesetter wanted to fill his graphics (obviously on paper at the time) with ineligible words so as to not distract one from the books aesthetic, or graphical compliments.

Its first appearance can be in Cicero’s 45B.C. Essay: De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, or On The Extremes of Good and Evil.

One alternative to the Lorem Ipsum filler is a newer Nietzsche Ipsum, which I must say is absolutely hilarious. But would confuse me even more than wasting my time on Latin gibberish.

As deep as you could go into the history and culture and usage of these things, they still serve to fulfill one purpose – to show how a text block will look like, regardless of its content.

Thanks for reading!

Mackenzie Andres


Founder | CEO

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