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Showing posts with the label etaoin shrdlu

Where have you gone, etaoin shrdlu?

One commonly printed “phrase” has disappeared from the English language.  This “phrase” wasn’t a phrase at all, but it would often appear in print, starting in the late 19th century and vanishing by the 1980s.  The “phrase” would baffle readers who were hard pressed to pronounce it, much less to understand it.  The phrase was “etaoin shrdlu”.

“etaoin shrdlu” was the subject of many letters to the editor from readers begging an explanation.  An item in the local paper might look like this: