"Greek" (printing)

I’m summer interning for a magazine. While putting together a briefing book, I saw a sample page with the following mystical inscription instead of text:

My boss told me it’s called “Greek text”, and is used to fill out a space where text will go but for which no copy is available. I knew this, of course. But I’ve seen this exact copy or a slight variant thereof several times before. What I want to know is, who wrote it, why, what were they on, and what if anything does it mean? And why is it called Greek when it looks Latin?

I agree–that looks clearly Latin. And why this dummy copy is called "Greek"when it’s obviously Latin, non intelligo!
I would like to know, however, if Greek handwriting is any different from hand-printing Greek letters, lower- and upper-case.

I don’t know why it’s called “Greek,” but it’s definitely Latin – with a lot of typos and corruptions. The versions I’ve seen usually start with “Lorem ipsum dolor,” and I’ve read that the whole passage is an extract from one of Cicero’s essays (which would certainly explain why I’ve never been able to make head or tail of it).

It’s called ‘Greeking’ because it is usually, or used to be, just a bunch of type set in no particular order.Some body thought it looked like greek and the name stuck.Since it was sometimes pasted in upsidedown the fancied resemblance was even stronger. Now adays we usually just cut something out of a copy book and there are some examples, such as the one you quoted that have become traditional.
Even then though most that I know paste it in upsidedown or copy it backwards so that every one knows it is ‘greeking’.
There may be a connection to ol’ willy shakespeare here too.
PS I am not o proof reader,so take there errors as you see 'um.

For a full explanation go here:


In summary, it’s a sort of “seminonsense Latin” – a very corrupted jumbled form of one of Cicero’s speeches, and, as you’ve discovered, traditionally used as a sort of text placeholder.

Fun fact: if you do a web search on the phrase “lorum ipsem dolor”, you’ll get thousands of web pages. Web designers sometimes use the text in samples for clients, and some html editors turn the first few lines of text into the page title. When the page is finished, they forget (or don’t realize) to change the title. Try it. (7000+ matches in Altavista, having nothing to do with the phrase. Searching ’ “lorem ipsum dolor” + typesetting’ gets you to the useful info.)

Oh, that’s strange. I wanted to add that I’d never seen a full translation, and went back to search. Used the same phrase, and got a totally different set of unrelated pages (all about typesetting, but no “lorem ipsum” this time. Anyway, the actually speech before garbling:

“Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…” translates to

“There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain”

What were those early typsetters into?

WHOA! Idon’t know why my reply was repeated i only pushed the submit button once, honest.

well, it did it again. I am doing something wrong.
AS to what those old type setters were into… well, I don’t know. But some of those old machines made a lead casting of the typeand if every thing wasn’t clamped tight a thin but HOT jet of molten lead could shoot out. I have often seen some fine renditions of the type setters dance, usually resulting in a fine pile of pi’d type.
( lets all hope this only shows up once)

You guys are fabulous. Thanks.