MLA
Enter a term to search the site
Search tips | Log in
Resources Job List publications bookstore style convention governance membership

MLA Handbook

Lorem Ipsum , or Lipsum for short, is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only four centuries, but now the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lipsum.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

Subhead

Contrary to popular belief, Lipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lipsum, "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet...", can be read out of a line from section 1.10.32, reproduced above.

The standard chunk of Lipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by english versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

 

 
© 2014 Modern Language Association. Last updated 07/23/2003.