A Fantastic Lorem Ipsum Text Generator.

What does Lorem Ipsum mean?

The orgin story of everyones favourite placeholder text.

When you first start working in the design, printing or publishing industries, you’ll quickly stumble upon mysterious snippets of text in a language you almost certainly don’t understand. These snippets will often start with the words “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet…”.

Congratulations! You’ve just discovered Lorem Ipsum.

The use of lorem ipsum is commonplace in these industries; it’s the most common form of “dummy” or placeholder text used. In certain situations it’s favoured over ‘real’ text as it allows for the evaluation of designs and layouts without the lure of distraction inherent in readable content. This process, in a somewhat ironic twist, is known as greeking.

The traditional lorem ipsum paragraph runs 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.

Looks like Latin, right? Well, if you thought that, you’re correct! But also a little wrong. See, while many of the individual words and phrases found in the lorem ipsum passage are valid Latin, the paragraph taken as a whole is complete nonsense. Nonetheless, it is nonsense with an interesting origin story.

The apparent source for the individual words and phrases found in lorem ipsum is actually a real Latin text. Specifically, it is thought that lorem ipsum text was derived from Cicero's philosophical work 'De finibus bonorum et malorum', translation 'On the ends of good and evil', dated to 45 BC. Perhaps a slightly serious piece of writing to be plastering all over the place, but there you go.

It is thought that sometime prior to the 1960’s the galley type for a particular section of the 1914 Loeb Classical Library edition of this text was fatefully jumbled, producing the paragraph of filler text still commonly used today.

So, what does “Lorem ipsum” mean? Well, the short answer is: nothing.

As far as I can tell, “Lorem” isn’t even a real Latin word. But that answer is unsatisfying, and I think we can do better. Let’s dig deeper.

Taking a look at Cicero’s original text from which the jumbled words and phrases of lorem ipsum originate, we find:

...neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet consectetur...

In the particular edition of the text from which lorem ipsum is thought to originate, the word dolorem was split across a line break, breaking it in two. As it turns out, lorem ipsum was originally dolorem ipsum - and dolorem ipsum does have a meaning.

Dolorem ipsum, when translated directly from Latin to English, means the pain.

Yes, the real answer to our question is that lorem ipsum means pain.

So, next time you’re working late, throwing the finishing touches on an important design, lay down some lorem ipsum. And know that in doing so, not only are you doing your job, but in some subtle way you’re expressing just a touch of existential angst, as channelled through the distorted words of an ancient Roman philosopher.

I think there’s a little comfort to be found in that.