Typographical personification

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Typographical personifications are usually better known by a myriad of colorful and fanciful names, such as Typo fairies, Typo demons, and the like. They are fictional beings commonly used as an explanation (or excuse) for typos. Though mostly known nowadays for their appearances from typed documents to instant messenger, the gag originated with 19th-century printers and typographers, who (good-naturedly) blamed all their mistakes on various fairies, dwarves, and gremlins.


  • Typo Fairies: Typo fairies are usually described as being either small, winged and luminous, or invisible, and as sporting a mischievous mindset.
  • Typo Demons: Typo demons, unlike the fairies, tend more often than not to be referenced by gamers, often during fast-paced online chat sessions or the like; for example, in an MMORPG, if someone accidentally typed "sord" and meant to type "sword", they may then add "Sword* ((AARG@Typo Demon))", with the assumption by others that this was a mistake. Note that this does not apply to "intentional" mistakes, such as l33tspeak. A variation of this exists in German as Fehlerteufel ("error devil").
  • Titivillus: In Christian mythology, Titivillus is a demon in the employ of Satan whose job is to ensure that monks in the Middle Ages made errors or omissions on Holy Scripture.
  • Tryckfelsnisse ("Typo nisse"); the Swedish equivalent of the Typo Fairy. Also sometimes referred to as Tyrkfelspisse, a typo of the original word, containing a reference to urine (the -pisse).
  • Sætternissen: the Danish name for the Typo Fairy, literally meaning a "typo elf" (see above)
  • Trykkleif or Tyrkkleif is a Norwegian typo fairy, which is an intentionally misspelled variety of the Norwegian word for typo, Trykkfeil (trykk and feil are the Norwegian words for print(ing) and error, respectively). The latter part of the word is intentionally misspelt as leif, a male Norwegian name.
  • Painovirhepaholainen ("printing mistake devil"): Finnish equivalent of the typo demon, known to have been in established use since at least the 1920s. The word itself has often been (intentionally) misspelled, resulting in countless humorous variations such as painoviher ("print green"), pianovirhe ("piano mistake"), pianoviehe ("piano lure") and "panovirhe" ("pano"~"to put" or "to fuck"). Similarly, Dutch references the Zetduiveltje ("little printing devil").
  • Chochlik Drukarski ("printing-press imp"): A Polish entity, this one is responsible for misspellings and omissions while cleaning the inside of the equipment being used, whether a keyboard or a printing press.
  • A nyomda ördöge ("devil of the printing house"): A Hungarian typo demon, which is made responsible for all misspellings and other typographical errors.
  • Gazapos. In Spanish, gazapo[1] means both "newborn rabbit" (from uncertain origin) and "wrong writing, wrong talking" (from gazapatón,[2] itself from Greco-Latin cacemphaton, "ill expression"). Hence some cartoonists represent the writer's desk with rabbits leaping around.
  • Druckfehlerteufelchen (little typo devil) is the German name.

Several online communities have been devoted to typographical personifications, as well as online art galleries.[3][4]

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