I’ve always been curious about the origins of ‘The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog’ but never bothered to find it out. Turns out its a pangram dating back to 1885.
Firstly: a pangram is a sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet at once, making them ideal for testing typewriters, keyboards and selling you on fonts. They exist in almost every language and can be complete proper sentences, like the dog and fox, or a perfect pangram, using each letter a single time, ex: Cwm fjord bank glyphs vext quiz, technically considered an anagram of the alphabet. There are even phonetic pangrams, focused on the pronunciation of the language rather than the letter itself.
It was first seen in The Michigan School Moderator in March 1885 as a suggested writing exercise. Since then, it has been redone (The original sentence began A quick brown fox, not The quick brown fox) and reused by everyone from Western Union to Microsoft. It maintains a firm place in American pop culture.
As I said, panagrams aren’t unique to English, and almost all languages have at least one popular panagram – even Klingon! Sadly I am unable to reproduce it in the original Klingonian (?) characters, but it appropriately translates to: Because of your apparent audacity the depressed conqueror is willing to fight you.
If you’re bored to death of the fox and the dog, here’s a few other pangrams to help test out your fancy new pen:
- Jack, love my big wad of sphinx quartz!
- My ex pub quiz crowd gave joyful thanks.
- A quick chop jolted my big sexy frozen wives.
- Watch “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek’s fun TV quiz game.
- Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs (my personal favorite)