Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 12 00:51:03 UTC 2010

Here is an example of the term "typo" being used in the description of
large text on a billboard in 1988. Some billboards are still hand
painted, but many use graphic reproduction. However, I doubt that the
journalist who used the word typo knew (or cared) which process was
being used to create the misspelled message on the billboard. It might
even be an electronic display since the article suggests it is changed
every day.

People and Events; [Home Edition]
PATT MORRISON. Los Angeles Times Los Angeles, Calif.: Apr 23, 1988. pg. 2

The Hyatt Hotel billboard alongside the Santa Ana Freeway in
Commerce-the visual fortune cookie with a daily adage for
commuters-may have perked them up a little too much Friday. A typo in
16-inch letters rendered a quote from German poet Goethe as "Life Is
The Childhood Of Our Imorality."

By noon, the hotel's epigram selector, Cristina Potter, had mended the
maxim; Goethe meant "immortality." "How embarrassing," Potter said.
"One lady called and said, `Do you know about your sign? I thought you
meant it as a joke.' "


On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 8:35 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "typo"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 7:36 PM -0400 8/11/10, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>>The Macmillan Dictionary does not cover typos in emails or blog posts:
>>typo noun [countable] informal
>>a small mistake in a printed document
> That's certainly too narrow.  I think any academic who "publishes" a
> paper in .pdf form (increasingly constituting the only publication of
> record, e.g. for conference proceedings or working papers) and
> transposes letters commits a typo.
> Then there's the spinoff, "thinko".  Don't know when that dates from
> but it's been around awhile.
> LH
>>The Wiktionary definition is currently general enough to cover the
>>incorrectly painted letters. Perhaps it is too general:
>>typo (plural typos) Noun
>>    1. A compositor.
>>    2. A spelling or typographical error.
>>The Wikipedia entry on on "Typographical personification" may offer an
>>explanation. The "typo demon" now visits road painters as well as
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