What Does Lorem Ipsum Mean?

At some point in time, almost everyone has encountered text that reads Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet… It’s used all over the place and theories on what it is range from it being a secret illuminati code, to it being complete nonsense. Let’s explore.

What does Google Think?

Partly fuelling conspiracy theories was when you pasted the first few paragraphs of Lorem ipsum into Google Translate they translated it into English as nonsense but included words like China and Nato (for those concerned, instructions on crafting foil hats can be found here).

foil-hat-Lorem-ipsum

TechCruch picked this story up first and tweeted Google to ask them, this is what they said…

touché! but since then they’ve changed the algorithms to make it return the text almost as is. This is it in June 2015.

As of June 2015

As readers of our blog will know, Google Translate is not the best place to get an accurate translation. It doesn’t actually translate the text, it searches for it online and returns what its database thinks is the equivalent in a different language. Sometimes this is just nonsense. Assume in this case someone had matched up lorem ipsum lorem ipsum with sexy sexy sexy sexy and it wasn’t until TechCrunch blogged about it they were able to manually override the database entry. Even in the example above it returns it as is with a strange amendment at the end. So let’s explore, what does it actually mean and is it actually nonsense?

Is Lorem Ipsum Nonsense?

these are called 3.5 inch floppiesLorem ipsum might have been in use since the 1500’s but it has definitely been in use since at least the 1960’s. Back then veteran graphic designers used letraset sheets each of different fonts and font sizes to make up pages of type. Some of these sheets came with the Lorem ipsum passage on them.

It was made more popular in graphic design circles when DTP was born because it came installed with Aldus Pagemaker. In the advertising world the copy is called greek text which is strange because it’s Latin.

The Latin in the text is actually derived from Cicero’s De finibus bonorum et malorum (On the ends of good and evil) and mixed in with the Platonism of Antiochus of Ascalon but it’s scrambled like an egg until only nonsense remains. So, sorry to say but yes, it is mostly nonsense. But let’s see if we can translate it.

The first few sentences are:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam hendrerit nisi sed sollicitudin pellentesque. Nunc posuere purus rhoncus pulvinar aliquam. Ut aliquet tristique nisl vitae volutpat. Nulla aliquet porttitor venenatis. Donec a dui et dui fringilla consectetur id nec massa. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed ut dui ut lacus dictum fermentum vel tincidunt neque. 

It’s not possible to translate it, it’s mixed up copy. But the original passages do show through, so some translation is possible. Jaspreet Singh Boparai (a Cambridge University graduate) came up with the following translation:

Rrow itself, let it be sorrow; let him love it; let him pursue it, ishing for its acquisitiendum. Because he will ab hold, unless but through concer, and also of those who resist. Now a pure snore disturbeded sum dust. He ejjnoyes, in order that somewon, also with a severe one, unless of life. May a cusstums offficer somewon nothing of a poison-filled. Until, from a twho, twho chaffinch may also pursue it, not even a lump. But as twho, as a tank; a proverb, yeast; or else they tinscribe nor. 

Still garbage, but at least you now know what you’ve been pasting in all this time.

Lorem Ipsum Resources

Here’s a great tip if you’re using MS Word and need some dummy copy. Type this into word…

=lorem()

and as if by magic 58 words of lorem ipsum appear.

lorem word magic

The command can be modified. If you include numbers in the brackets the first one tells Word how many paragraphs you want and the second is the number of sentences in each paragraph. For instance if you type =lorem(4,5) you get 4 paragraphs each one with 5 sentences. It might actually be my all time favourite features of Word.

create free text in MS Word

There are other ways to generate the copy. Such as 3rd party plugins for Adobe’s products, FirefoxWordPress and there are lots of websites. Here are my favourite ones.

lipsum.com

I use this one all the time and have done for years. Its great. All you need to do is tell it how many words, paragraphs, bytes or even lists (which returns a bulleted list). Hit ‘generate lorem ipsum’ and copy and paste into your layout of choice.

lipsum.com is awesome

 

html-ipsum.com

We use this one to help us creating html with lorem ipsum in it, which is exactly what this page does. It gives you copy with the HTML already wrapped around it, great for a number of scenarios.

create lorem ipsum in html

notloremipsum.com

As the website says… ‘in an ideal world this website wouldn’t exist because your clients would supply the content’. But its not an ideal world and they don’t which is why this will help. It gives you industry specific dummy copy which you can copy paste into your layouts. A great starting point to demo your layouts without spending too much time on content. If you use lorem ipsum in your mockups I guarantee that you will get clients who say, “like the design but WTF is that gibberish”. Only problem is when the client likes the fake content,  you have to explain to them that they can’t actually use it : )

for when you don't want to use lorem ipsum

hipsum.co

Love this. Complete alternative using a mixture of hipster and latin. Type the number of paragraphs you need, make sure to select ‘hipster with a shot of latin’ and click beer me. You’ll get copy like this… Elit consectetur listicle Schlitz umami chia 3 wolf moon viral cred, Echo Park health goth street art nesciunt brunch fingerstache. Authentic narwhal disrupt, leggings shabby chic VHS iPhone officia. Client satisfaction guaranteed.

Leggings disrupt roof party retro kale chips...

So there you go. You now know where lorem ipsum came from, why its so popular and how to generate it for your own layout projects. Please leave me a comment, it lets me know you’re alive and writing about lorem ipsum is a lonely business and before I forget, if you need to know what something else means in a different language we have a comprehensive document translation service for all your literary needs!

23 replies
  1. Richard Brooks
    Richard Brooks says:

    Here’s the first five paragraphs…
    ——————————————————–

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer non lorem condimentum metus egestas semper. Nunc molestie erat ac metus placerat, et tincidunt enim hendrerit. Donec eget metus neque. Cras eleifend lorem et magna eleifend, vitae iaculis eros scelerisque. Sed accumsan odio enim, id feugiat nulla sollicitudin a. In vitae euismod sapien. Ut et adipiscing metus. Morbi mattis ut elit eu adipiscing. Phasellus at feugiat turpis. Sed quis purus pellentesque, volutpat neque adipiscing, pellentesque massa.

    Curabitur vel mi sit amet dui lobortis ornare id ut ligula. Maecenas laoreet velit id ligula pharetra sollicitudin. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec vehicula consequat dolor congue hendrerit. Nulla facilisi. Fusce bibendum nisi erat, et mollis lectus iaculis et. Suspendisse quam nisl, bibendum a enim eget, dapibus luctus justo. Sed sollicitudin euismod felis vitae faucibus. Praesent interdum sem at neque ullamcorper, id ultricies mauris fringilla. Nullam porttitor justo vel nibh posuere faucibus. Nunc pretium odio sed porttitor consequat. Nullam non tortor sagittis, commodo urna id, consectetur erat. Maecenas elementum, lacus ut egestas venenatis, nibh turpis suscipit quam, ut vehicula turpis tortor eu eros.

    Pellentesque sollicitudin molestie lectus tincidunt luctus. Nunc rutrum dui est, eget ullamcorper dolor mollis in. Nam imperdiet tortor leo, eu porta nulla lacinia eu. Donec malesuada ligula at mauris varius elementum. Fusce semper consectetur mauris, nec rutrum orci viverra ac. Pellentesque eu massa ornare, tincidunt lorem eget, egestas sem. Sed et ligula eget metus pharetra volutpat vitae sed risus. Praesent hendrerit sagittis orci ac suscipit. Nam posuere arcu velit, quis luctus sem semper a. Aenean nec dolor vitae orci venenatis sodales. Donec adipiscing feugiat erat a sodales. Nunc lobortis enim sed justo laoreet, ac feugiat felis viverra. Vivamus quis placerat magna. Quisque dolor augue, ullamcorper sit amet augue a, ultrices commodo nibh. Duis nisi massa, pretium dignissim elit sit amet, tempus fringilla tortor. Vivamus eget mauris vel dolor vulputate porta.

    Praesent eleifend malesuada pulvinar. Vivamus lobortis cursus ante, a tempor nibh aliquet sed. Nulla eu molestie massa. Morbi eu malesuada diam, ut euismod sapien. Praesent eu malesuada ante. In diam mi, posuere sit amet purus a, laoreet aliquam urna. Fusce volutpat eleifend tellus, eget dictum felis feugiat quis. Morbi porta leo ut velit consequat, eget iaculis eros aliquet. Curabitur laoreet mollis ipsum.

    Curabitur laoreet vehicula gravida. Mauris feugiat vehicula tortor, eu mollis lacus tempus in. Proin non pharetra sem. Integer commodo leo molestie dui pharetra, eu venenatis felis hendrerit. Mauris quis mi metus. In euismod dictum ligula, eleifend hendrerit sem faucibus sit amet. Nunc adipiscing libero quam, sed imperdiet neque pulvinar ut. Praesent ligula neque, rutrum sit amet rutrum molestie, interdum eget justo. Aliquam malesuada tempor enim sed pharetra. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Duis lacinia nec nisl sed pretium. Quisque condimentum lorem at quam molestie facilisis.

    Reply
    • Dustin Turner
      Dustin Turner says:

      So I have been studying and I learned it means There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain.There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain.

      Reply
      • Alison Kroulek
        Alison Kroulek says:

        Well, sort of…that’s a rough translation of the original Latin, but in the Lorem Ipsum text it’s all jumbled up into nonsense. 🙂

        Reply
  2. AL
    AL says:

    It is derived from a Cicero writing…in a semi-stochastic way…

    « Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui doLOREM IPSUM, quia DOLOR SIT, AMET, CONSECTETUR, ADIPISCI vELIT, SED quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur? [33] At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet, ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat. »

    Reply
  3. Giovanni NAPOLITANO
    Giovanni NAPOLITANO says:

    Giovanni
    27 April 2016
    This code, or a similar one, will be very much useful on the first opportunity anyone of the humans will meet an alien. Many children do invent a fiction language to communicate with their invented alter ego, alias ‘hidden friend’. Funny enough it contains a logic syntax and constitutes a psycological labyrinth, firmly locked for outsiders.

    Reply
  4. Rafa
    Rafa says:

    DSA

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed vitae luctus nisi. Donec accumsan vehicula tempor. In volutpat condimentum justo nec volutpat. Ut imperdiet laoreet pharetra. Quisque vitae luctus ligula, ut tristique turpis. Quisque aliquam orci quis ipsum iaculis vestibulum. In placerat nibh tellus, tincidunt dapibus felis fermentum sed. Praesent non nisl lorem. Nam commodo nunc eget nunc suscipit lobortis. Vestibulum non ornare libero. Praesent pharetra feugiat tortor, sit amet mattis elit malesuada non. Vestibulum pretium vehicula venenatis. Nullam consectetur turpis vel tincidunt tempor. Praesent fringilla dui lorem, eu molestie justo aliquet vel. Ut nibh tortor, malesuada et sapien consectetur, auctor scelerisque ante. Etiam adipiscing purus eu ultricies consectetur.

    Integer sed nulla est. Duis consectetur luctus felis tempus mollis. Quisque nec posuere mi. Sed scelerisque vestibulum justo. Vivamus faucibus porta metus id ultricies. Curabitur scelerisque nulla eget ipsum cursus fermentum. Aenean cursus at nunc quis laoreet. Cras sodales sapien et feugiat laoreet. Proin semper varius augue, vitae consequat nunc sollicitudin sit amet. Vivamus porta egestas odio, non ultricies arcu ultrices et. Nunc gravida luctus lobortis. Sed mi justo, eleifend sed dolor vitae, congue semper massa. Ut sit amet lobortis tortor. Nullam sed nunc sit amet ligula rutrum porta.

    Integer vitae arcu nec justo feugiat consectetur sit amet quis neque. Pellentesque viverra massa vel velit faucibus lacinia. Cras ante risus, malesuada quis luctus vel, sodales eu risus. Morbi quis dictum lacus, consequat molestie turpis. Nunc et lacus facilisis, mattis neque quis, auctor ipsum. Etiam ac velit elit. Fusce ut accumsan sem, non pharetra augue.

    Reply
  5. Dustinturner
    Dustinturner says:

    I have been translating this for 2 years now I have found something amazing if you translate it from latin to sr5 to english that apply code 4ft7ct it makes sense. It is actually meaning something!!!

    Reply
  6. Doug N., PhD, JD, MDA, OMG
    Doug N., PhD, JD, MDA, OMG says:

    I am alive and well, and I have but one small question. In your closing text you write, in part, “and before I forget, if you need to know what somthing else means…” Now I know that you are some sort on ‘Brit’ based linguist, as you wrote in an earlier paragraph, “Here are my favourite ones.”, and although MY spell checker does not like words like ‘favourite’, and ‘colour’, and ‘z’ where an ‘s’ should be and vice-versa, I have learned that Brits write as funny as they talk, so sometimes I will just tell the spell checker to just ADD the Brit versions (even though they are like fingernails on a chalkboard’). I have to draw the line on ‘somthing’, and this is it. No, literally, THIS is it; ‘somthing’, is not a word, not even in Brit tongue. So am I to assume that an expert in Lorem Ipsum, does not use a spell checker when creating a website such as this, as “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris ornare odio vel risus. Maecenas elit metus, pellentesque quis, pretium.”, it would generate a mass of red underscores (even on a Brit spell-checker), so it makes fairly good sense to turn off, or ignore the red-underscoring, spell checker. But alas, this means actual proof-reading, and in this effort, it appears you have fallen a bit short with ‘somthing’. Unless of course, it was a test, to see if your readers can wade through all the Lorem ipsum caca-poopoo, and still catch a spelling error? We can go with that, to save face and all, if you prefer, and then, ‘Bob’s your uncle’ ! (whatever the hell THAT means!) Well this was a fun exercise, (or is it an ‘exercize’?) Thanks for the translations, information and the test! Have a New Anno Felix! (or anni beatum, novus annus si mavis)!

    Reply

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