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 different styles of fonts.
Teachers also 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.
So, how old is this phrase? The earliest known instance of it appearing in print is from the year 1885. It can be found in several newspapers from that time, and as previously mentioned, it was used by teachers to help their students practice 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 the 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 was more common back then. Interestingly, today, the dominant form of this pangram is the one that starts with “The”. The earliest appearance of this latter form (the one starting with “The”) 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 this means the phrase is at least over 130 years old.
Note: You just read about a phrase related to a fox. There are more phrases related to animals on here. Yes, we have a list of animal phrases on here that you can check out. It’ll continue to grow as more are added to it.