The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

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The phrase shown in metal moveable type, used in printing presses (image reversed for readability)

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" is an English-language pangram—a phrase that contains all of the letters of the alphabet. It is commonly used for touch-typing practice. It is also used to test typewriters and computer keyboards, show fonts, and other applications involving all of the letters in the English alphabet. Owing to its brevity and coherence, it has become widely known.

History[edit]

Item from the February 10, 1885 edition of the Boston Journal mentioning the phrase "A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"

The earliest known appearance of the phrase is from the Boston Journal newspaper. In an article titled "Current Notes" in the February 10, 1885 morning edition, the phrase is mentioned as a good practice sentence for writing students: "A favorite copy set by writing teachers for their pupils is the following, because it contains every letter of the alphabet: 'A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.'"[1] Dozens of other newspapers published the phrase over the next few months, all using the version of the sentence starting with "A" rather than "The".[2] The earliest known use of the phrase in its modern form (starting with "The") is from the 1888 book Illustrative Shorthand by Linda Bronson.[3]

As the use of typewriters grew in the late 19th century, the phrase began appearing in typing lesson books as a practice sentence. Early examples include How to Become Expert in Typewriting: A Complete Instructor Designed Especially for the Remington Typewriter (1890),[4] and Typewriting Instructor and Stenographer's Hand-book (1892). By the turn of the 20th century, the phrase had become widely known. In the January 10, 1903, issue of Pitman's Phonetic Journal, it is referred to as "the well known memorized typing line embracing all the letters of the alphabet".[5] Robert Baden-Powell's book Scouting for Boys (1908) uses the phrase as a practice sentence for signaling.[6]

The first message sent on the Moscow–Washington hotline was the test phrase "THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPED OVER THE LAZY DOG'S BACK 1234567890".[7] Later, during testing, the Russian translators sent a message asking their American counterparts "What does it mean when your people say 'The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog?'"[8]

During the 20th century, technicians tested typewriters and teleprinters by typing the sentence.[9]

Computer usage[edit]

In the age of computers, this pangram is commonly used to display font samples and for testing computer keyboards. In cryptography, it is commonly used as a test vector for hash and encryption algorithms to verify their implementation, as well as to ensure alphabetic character set compatibility. Microsoft Word has a command to auto-type the sentence, in versions up to Word 2003, using the command =rand(), and in Microsoft Office Word 2007 and later using the command =rand.old().[10]

Examples of how the phrase is used in font display

Cultural references[edit]

Numerous passing references to the phrase have occurred in movies, television, books, video games, advertising, websites, and graphic arts.

The lipogrammatic novel Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn is built entirely around the "Quick Brown Fox" pangram and its inventor. It depicts a fictional country off the South Carolina coast that idealizes the pangram, chronicling the effects on literature and social structure as various letters are banned from daily use by government dictum.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Current Notes". Boston Journal (morning ed.). Boston, Massachusetts. February 10, 1885. p. 1. 
  2. ^ "Search for 'quick brown fox'". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Bronson, Linda Pennington (1888). Illustrative Shorthand. San Francisco. p. 76. 
  4. ^ Barnes, Lovisa Ellen (1890). How to Become Expert in Typewriting. p. 12. 
  5. ^ "The Fox Typewriter". Pitman's Phonetic Journal. January 10, 1903. 
  6. ^ Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys (PDF). London: Pearson. ISBN 0-665-98794-3. 
  7. ^ "Washington Moscow Hotline". Cryptomuseum.com. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  8. ^ Rusk, Dean (1991). As I Saw It: A Secretary of State’s Memoirs. London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. p. 225. 
  9. ^ Vegter, Wobbe (June 2007). "Jean-Maurice-Émile Baudot". ThemNews. 8 (2). Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  10. ^ "kb212251 Microsoft support". Support.microsoft.com. 2011-09-18. Retrieved 2013-09-21. 
  11. ^ Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters, by Mark Dunn, Anchor, 2001, ISBN 0385722435