Lorem ipsum

Lorem ipsum

Did you take Latin in high school? Does the title of this column make any sense to you? I took Spanish, which developed from Latin, and I recognize the word "pain" (dolor). Otherwise it looks like gibberish to me. 

I recently ran into lorem ipsum when I was working on a website. Printers and website developers want to show people what a document or website would look like with text, so they use fake text. Somewhere along the line, a printer first used lorem ipsum to make a mockup of something and the idea caught on. Lorem ipsum has a variety of "word" lengths and looks like readable text at a glance. Since it doesn't make sense to anyone, they look at the product as a whole, rather than reading the content.

Lorem ipsum is sometimes called fake Latin, so I used Google Translate to see what it meant. I understand that Google Translate has limitations, but I don't know anyone who speaks Latin, so it was my only choice. I used an online lorem ipsum generator to come up with an example. This is the first sentence:

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ea eos viris ubique, eu vel vivendo maluisset, no sit ignota temporibus."

Translation: "The pain itself is very important, it would have preferred them to men everywhere, football or living, it is not unknown to the times."

It seems that Richard McClintock of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia noticed an obscure word in the original text and researched it. He found that large parts of what we know as lorem ipsum came from "The Extremes of Good and Evil" by Cicero who wrote it in 45 BCE. Since then, online generators add bits to it, as inside jokes. I am confident Cicero wasn't writing about football.

When I started researching this column, my first thought was to use Google to learn more about lorem ipsum. As a librarian, I want to be a good example, so I tried looking for "lorem ipsum" in an online encyclopedia the library subscribes to. I got some interesting results. There were no entries on the history of lorem ipsum itself, but you could see where some authors typed their entry online and didn't erase the dummy text when they were done with their article.  Here's an example taken from the Explora database:

"Tory anger over police powers Lorem ipsum: PLANS to give police the most 'draconian detention powers in modern British legal history' for another six months have been condemned by Tory MPs. Published in: Sunday Telegraph (London), Mar 21, 2021, MasterFILE Complete"

I read the article, and it isn't about lorem ipsum. Someone just forgot to erase the dummy text when they typed the title in, and nobody proofread it.

Here is the rest of the paragraph I generated online:

"No qui ipsum timeam graecis, soleat detracto salutandi usu no. Mea at tibique denique repudiandae, pri ut utroque invenire. Et est appareat maiestatis. Quo mundi conceptam te, an sea copiosae appareat interesset, te putant virtute quo. Vel verear prompta mandamus ne."

Translated: "No, he who fears the Greeks himself, should be accustomed to withdraw from the custom of salutation. Mine, and yours, in fine, to be repudiated, in order to find both. And it is the appearance of majesty. Where the world conceives thee, whether the abundant sea appears, they think thee by virtue of what power. Or I fear that we may not send prompt orders."

Lorem ipsum is pure gibberish. Next time you need some dummy text, search for a lorem ipsum generator online. You can easily find different versions, including "pirate" and "cheese" if you want to make it fun. Keep an eye out, you will run across lorem ipsum somewhere now that you know the story behind it.