This is a pangram in the English language and it’s probably the most recognized one at that. What is a pangram, you ask? It is a sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet. There are others just like it, but their lengths (the number of letters in them) vary. Here are three examples:
- Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs. (32 letters)
- The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. (35 letters)
- A mad boxer shot a quick, gloved jab to the jaw of his dizzy opponent. (54 letters)
Origin Of ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog’
If you are looking to download new fonts, then ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ is a sentence that you have likely seen many times by now. This particular pangram is usually seen right next to the fonts that are on display, and the specific style of font is applied to the pangram. That way, before you decide whether you want it or not, you can look and see what each individual letter looks like in that style of font, and you can also see what it looks like in a full sentence. This is one of the primary uses of pangrams these days; to display the different styles of fonts.
Another use is by teachers who may use them for their students to help them practice writing. Indeed, writing a pangram would require the students to write each letter of the alphabet at least once.
The earliest known instance of this phrase appearing in print is from the year 1885. It makes an appearance in several newspapers from that time, and as mentioned above, it was used by teachers to help students practice their writing. For example, in The Mainland Mercury, June 1885, there’s a part that reads:
“A favorite copy set by writing teachers for their pupils is the following, because it contains every letter of the alphabet: ‘A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.’ “
As you can see, in this newspaper (and others that were published in that same year), the phrase starts with an “A” instead of the word “The”. Both of these versions existed back then, but based on the examples I’ve seen, it’s possible that the “A” version of the phrase was more common back then. Whatever the case, today this pangram pretty much always begins with the word “The” from what I’ve seen. The earliest appearance of this form that I could find is from a newspaper called The Queenslander, June 1887:
“Solutions of Nuts to Crack in Queenslander of 4th June:—I. Jubilee. II. The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.”
So then, this means the phrase is over 130 years old.
Note: This is an example of a phrase related to an animal, and in this case, its the fox. There’s a list of animal related phrases on here that you can look at, and it continues to grow in size as more are added to it. Check it out!