What's up with "The Quick Brown Fox..." ?
Sat Mar 6th 2004, 4:47pm
For a while now I've seen this phrase the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog and thought, what on earth does that mean? What a silly sentence. Is it from some nursery rhyme, or bad '70s children's TV show (e.g. Captain Kangaroo)? Adding to the mystery, in doing a bit of net research on fonts, I kept seeing font designers using it to showcase their fonts (including the Fontifier site).

Turns out it it's a pangram, a sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet. Ah, now I get it. Pangrams are yet another wordsmith game, often producing cryptic, nonsensical gibberish just like anagrams and palindromes. Pangrams obviously aren't hard to create, but short, sensible ones are. And of course they're useful to typographers because they display every possible character in a sample text.

Here's a good site (except for the excessive banner ads) on what a pangram is and a few popular examples, e.g. Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs. This guy's site has an interesting thread going with several original pangrams, and even some funny pangram haikus.

To wrap, I'll include this 49 character pangram found on the myfonts.com site:

Jeb Bush quit work on crazy Florida voting mixup.