June 10, 2011

Word of the Day

pangram \PAN-gruhm\, noun:

A sentence, verse, etc., that includes all the letters of the alphabet.

Formerly Utopianna, the country’s name was changed in 1904 to honor native son Nevin Nollop, the author of the popular pangram sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
— Mark Dunn, Ella Minnow Pea: a novel in letters

The ideal pangram contains each letter only once, but it is difficult to compose a meaningful sentence of this kind.
— Thomas Burns McArthur, Feri McArthur, The Oxford companion to the English language

Pangram is combination of the Greek pan-, “all,” and -gram, “related to writing.”

So sez

There are, of course, 26 letters in the Roman alphabet as adapted to English (the Romans did not have j, u, or w, and they used y and z only to write Greek words borrowed into the language—Greek was to the Romans as Latin is to us, a prestige language of art and learning). Anyhoo, a shorter pangram than the 35-letter qbf that used to be known to everyone is the following with 32 letters:

Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.

I kind of like that, though for sense the qbf is better. Then there are the ones that use arbitrary acronyms to reduce letters (usually leaving out vowels)—MTV and such. Those are no phun. Here is a 27 letter pangram—

Nymphs blitz quick vex dwarf jog.

Huh? 29 letters:

Bright vixens jump; dozy fowl quack.

Right. 30 letters:

Two driven jocks help fax my big quiz.

Resorts to slang and a recent addition to language shortened and respelled from facsimile.

Sympathizing would fix Quaker objectives.

That was 36 letters and contains a proper noun.

You can see more if this sort of thing intrigues your grandma’s onyx jug zephyr at


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