A pangram or holoalphabetic sentence is a sentence using every letter of a given alphabet at least once. Pangrams have been used to display typefaces, test equipment, and develop skills in handwriting, calligraphy, and keyboarding.

An example of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog".

The best-known English pangram is "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog". It has been used since at least the late 19th century, was utilized by Western Union to test Telex/TWX data communication equipment for accuracy and reliability,[1] and is now used by a number of computer programs (most notably the font viewer built into Microsoft Windows) to display computer fonts.

In a sense, a pangram (παν γράμμα, 'pan gramma', "every letter") is the opposite of the lipogram, in which the aim is to omit one or more letters from a sentence.

Short pangramsEdit

Short pangrams in English are more difficult to devise and tend to use uncommon words. Longer pangrams may afford more opportunity for humor, cleverness, or thoughtfulness.[2]

The following are examples of pangrams that are shorter than "The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog" (which has 33 letters) and use standard written English without abbreviations or proper nouns:

  1. "Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex." (28 letters)
  2. "Glib jocks quiz nymph to vex dwarf." (28 letters)
  3. "Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow." (29 letters)
  4. "How vexingly quick daft zebras jump!" (30 letters)
  5. "The five boxing wizards jump quickly." (31 letters)
  6. "Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz." (31 letters)
  7. "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs." (32 letters)

Perfect pangramsEdit

A perfect pangram contains every letter of the alphabet only once and can be considered an anagram of the alphabet. The only perfect pangrams of the English alphabet that are known use abbreviations or other non-words, such as "Mr Jock, TV quiz PhD, bags few lynx" or "Quickly Nez Ford, what's JPG BMX V?", or use words so obscure that the phrase is hard to understand, such as "Cwm fjord bank glyphs vext quiz", in which cwm is a loan word from the Welsh language meaning a steep-sided glaciated valley, and vext is an uncommon way to spell vexed.

Other writing systems may present more options; the Iroha is a well-known perfect pangram of the Japanese syllabary.

Phonetic pangramsEdit

These pangrams use all the phonemes, or phones of English (rather than alphabetic characters). The 1969 paper IEEE Recommended Practices for Speech Quality Measurements recorded 100 British-English phonetic pangrams.[3]

  1. “With tenure, Suzie’d have all the more leisure for yachting, but her publications are no good.” (US English)
  2. “Are those shy Eurasian footwear, cowboy chaps, or jolly earthmoving headgear?” (Received Pronunciation British English)
  3. “The beige hue on the waters of the loch impressed all, including the French queen, before she heard that symphony again, just as young Arthur wanted.” (a phonetic, not merely phonemic, pangram containing allophones)

Other languages using the Latin scriptEdit

Whereas the English language uses all 26 letters of the Latin alphabet in native and naturalized words, many other languages using the same alphabet do not. Pangram writers in these languages are forced to choose between only using those letters found in native words or incorporating exotic loanwords into their pangrams. Some words, such as the Gaelic-derived whisk(e)y, which has been borrowed by many languages and uses the letters k, w and y, are a frequent fixture of many foreign pangrams.

Portez ce vieux whisky au juge blond qui fume ("Take this old whisky to the blond judge who is smoking") uses each basic consonant once, though not any letters with diacritics. The letters k and w are only found in loanwords.
Victor jagt zwölf Boxkämpfer quer über den großen Sylter Deich ("Victor chases twelve boxers across the Great Levee of Sylt") contains all letters, including the umlauted vowels (ä, ö, ü) and ß. The letter y is limited to loanwords and proper names like Sylt.
Pranzo d'acqua fa volti sghembi ("A lunch of water makes twisted faces") has 26 letters and includes all 21 letters found in native Italian words.
Stróż pchnął kość w quiz gędźb vel fax myjń ("The watchman pushed the bone into a quiz of the musics or a fax of the washes") Perfect pangram, using every letter once, including foreign letters q, v, and x.[4]
Benjamín pidió una bebida de kiwi y fresa. Noé, sin vergüenza, la más exquisita champaña del menú ("Benjamin ordered a kiwi and strawberry drink. Noah, without shame, the most exquisite champagne on the menu") uses all diacritics and the foreign letters k and w.
Pijamalı hasta yağız şoföre çabucak güvendi ("Sick in pyjamas quickly trusted to swarthy driver") contains all of the letters in Turkish alphabet.
Høj bly gom vandt fræk sexquiz på wc ("Tall shy groom won naughty sexquiz on wc") A perfect pangram, using every letter exactly once (Including the more unusual letters as q, w, and x, and including the Danish æ, ø, and å).[5]

Other alphabetic scriptsEdit

Non-Latin alphabetic or phonetic scripts such as Greek, Cyrillic, and others can also have pangrams. Some for Greek are listed at [1]. In some writing systems exactly what counts as a distinct symbol can be debated. For example, many languages have accents or other diacritics, but one might count "é" and "e" as the same for pangrams. A similar problem arises for older English orthography that includes the long s ("ſ").

Non-alphabetic scriptsEdit

Logographic scripts, or writing systems such as Chinese that do not use an alphabet but are composed principally of logograms, cannot produce pangrams in a literal sense (or at least, not pangrams of reasonable size). The total number of signs is large and imprecisely defined, so producing a text with every possible sign is practically impossible. However, various analogies to pangrams are feasible, including traditional pangrams in a romanization.

In Japanese, although typical orthography uses kanji (logograms), pangrams can be made using every kana, or syllabic character. The Iroha is a classic example of a perfect pangram in non-Latin script.

In Chinese, the Thousand Character Classic is a 1000-character poem in which each character is used exactly once; however, it does not include all Chinese characters. The single character (permanence) incorporates every basic stroke used to write Chinese characters exactly once, as described in the Eight Principles of Yong.

Among abugida scripts, an example of a perfect pangram is the Hanacaraka (hana caraka; data sawala; padha jayanya; maga bathanga) of the Javanese script, which is used to write the Javanese language in Indonesia.

Self-enumerating pangramsEdit

A self-enumerating pangram is a pangrammatic autogram, or a sentence that inventories its own letters, each of which occurs at least once. The first example was produced by Rudy Kousbroek, a Dutch journalist and essayist, who publicly challenged Lee Sallows, a British recreational mathematician resident in the Netherlands, to produce an English translation of his Dutch pangram. In the sequel, Sallows built an electronic "pangram machine", that performed a systematic search among millions of candidate solutions. The machine was successful in identifying the following 'magic' translation:[6][8]

This pangram contains four As, one B, two Cs, one D, thirty Es, six Fs, five Gs, seven Hs, eleven Is, one J, one K, two Ls, two Ms, eighteen Ns, fifteen Os, two Ps, one Q, five Rs, twenty-seven Ss, eighteen Ts, two Us, seven Vs, eight Ws, two Xs, three Ys, & one Z.

Chris Patuzzo was able to reduce the problem of finding a self-enumerating pangram to the boolean satisfiability problem. He did this by using a made-to-order hardware description language as a stepping stone and then applied the Tseytin transformation to the resulting chip.[9][10]

Pangrams in literatureEdit

The pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", and the search for a shorter pangram, are the cornerstone of the plot of the novel Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.[11] The search successfully comes to an end when the phrase "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs" is discovered.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Evans, Rod L. (2012-06-05). Tyrannosaurus Lex: The Marvelous Book of Palindromes, Anagrams, and Other Delightful and Outrageous Wordplay. Penguin. p. 51. ISBN 978-1-10-158863-5.
  2. ^ "Fun with Words: Pangrams". Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  3. ^ "IEEE Recommended Practice for Speech Quality Measurements". IEEE Transactions on Audio and Electroacoustics. 17 (3): 225–246. September 16, 1969. doi:10.1109/TAU.1969.1162058 – via IEEE Xplore.
  4. ^ Ciura, Marcin (2018-12-17). "More perfect Polish pangrams".
  5. ^ pangram author Kenneth Rosenkilde (2000), pangram noted here by Martin B. Borup.[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Dewdney, A.K. (October 1984). "Computer Recreations". Scientific American. p. 18–22.
  7. ^ "In quest of a pangram". Abacus (defunct mag.). Vol. 2 no. 3. New York, NY: Springer Verlag. Spring 1985. pp. 22–40.
  8. ^ Weiss, E.A., ed. (1987). "In quest of a pangram (abridged reprint[7])". A Computer Science Reader. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. pp. 200–220. ISBN 0-387-96544-0. ref stripmarker in |chapter= at position 40 (help)
  9. ^ Seemingly disconnected things (podcast). Why are computers. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  10. ^ "Another approach for finding self-enumerating pangrams". Chapter 35: Sequential sorting. The New Turing Omnibus. § show & tell. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  11. ^ Malin, Irving (2003). "Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel In Letters". Review of Contemporary Fiction. 23 (2): 153.

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