from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Nonsense, filler text, or an example of accidental typing.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the arrangement of letters on the keyboard of a Linotype machine—typesetters would mark errors by running their fingers across the keys, and the results would sometimes accidentally find their way into print.


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  • it seems wiktionary is lacking.
    Its a list of the most frequent letters, and in this case, selected to minimize wear and tear on hole punching equpment for paper tape systems.

    March 31, 2015

  • as far as I'm aware, the sequence was accepted as an approximation even when the Linotype keyboard was made. I imagine it varies slightly with time and according to dialect/material surveyed.

    October 13, 2007

  • Neat! ETOANIRSH is the relative letter frequency list for the alphabet I'm familiar with and have memorized for such puzzles as cryptograms, etc. The 2- and 3- letter frequencies are also helpful.

    October 5, 2007

  • Once etched into one's mind, makes a game of Hangman quite predictable... (though I found I'd memorised it by accident and not for that purpose!)

    The full sequence on the Linotype keyboard is etaoin shrdlu cmfwyp vbgkqj xz.

    October 4, 2007