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
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.