Lorem ipsum: the (sort of) deeper meaning behind the dummy text

Design

Abigail Balbach

Everyone comes across lorem ipsum at some point. In the design world, it comes up a lot. We know it as dummy filler text we use to represent copy in a design template or wireframe.

It actually comes from a text written by the Roman orator and politician Cicero in the first century BC and probably started showing up as the go-to filler text for typesetting in the 1960s.

Here’s the excerpt:

[32] Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit amet consectetur adipisci[ng] velit, sed quia non-numquam [do] eius modi tempora inci[di]dunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur?

 

In English, that means:

Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but 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?

There you have it. Every time you come across lorem ipsum, you’re reading a 2,000 year old complaint about having to go to the gym. It’s nice to know some things never change.

If you’re wondering if the weirder side of the internet has gotten its hands on something so vanilla, of course it has.

Use one of these alternatives for when you’re feeling a little spicier than dolor sit amet.

Fillerama pulls from your favorite nerdy cult-doms like Futurama and Dr. Who.

Corporate ipsum utilizes a broadly encompassing spectrum of corporate terms and marketing speak to grab that low-hanging fruit and streamline your approach to automated text generation. In case you need any more of that in your life.

More choices — inspired by everything from Ancient Aliens to Heisenberg himself.

Enjoy.

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