What does “Lorem Ipsum” mean? tagged:

What does “Lorem Ipsum” mean?

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When I was playing with this interface last week, I made a post filled with Lorem Ipsum filler text to practice with the admin interface. Everyone is familiar with it, to some extent; it’s that Latin-looking nonsense text that many editors will use to test formating without using real work. However, being a former Latin student, I kinda wanted to know where this strange pseudo-Latin came from. I certainly wasn’t able to translate it, but I first chalked that up to the years since high school taking their toll on my memory. But a quick google came to my rescue!

See, Lorem Ipsum isn’t real Latin at all; it was purposely neutered to take all attention away from the content of the text and instead draw all attention to the formating itself. However, it was adapted from a real passage; specifically, “De finibus bonorum et malorum” (“On the Boundaries of Goods and Evils”) by Cicero. So what does it all originally mean?

The short answer is that “Lorem Ipsum” comes from the Latin phrase “dolorem ipsum,” meaning “pain itself.” Pretty morbid, I thought!

But thanks to lipsum.com, we can read the passage in a bit more context:

The standard Lorem Ipsum passage, used since the 1500s
“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing 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.”

1914 translation of Cicero’s original passage by H. Rackham
“But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”

Funny how people’s opinions on exercise haven’t changed in the last two thousand years!