AskDefine | Define typo

Dictionary Definition

typo n : a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind [syn: misprint, erratum, typographical error, literal error, literal]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A compositor.
  2. A spelling or typographical error.



Derived terms

See also

Extensive Definition

A typographical error or typo is a mistake made during, originally, the manual type-setting (typography) of printed material, or more recently, the typing process. The term includes errors due to mechanical failure or slips of the hand or finger, but excludes errors of ignorance. Before the arrival of printing, the "copyist's mistake" was the equivalent for manuscripts. Most typos involve simple duplication, omission, transposition, or substitution of a small number of characters.
Though the term "typo" excludes errors of ignorance, it is common to find it used as a euphemism to describe instances of poor spelling, punctuation, or grammar, such as subconsciously typing a homophone.
A typographical error is distinct from an orthographical error; the latter is characterised by incorrect usage of language.

"Intentional" typos

Certain typos, or kinds of typos, have achieved widespread notoriety and are occasionally used diliberately for humorous purposes. For instance, the British newspaper The Guardian is sometimes referred to as The Grauniad for its alleged frequent typesetting errors in the era before computer typesetting. This practice stems from a joke in the satirical magazine Private Eye claiming that the paper misspelled its own name in the masthead. The magazine continues to refer to The Guardian by this name to this day.
Typos are common on the internet in chatrooms, Usenet and the World Wide Web and some, such as "teh", "pwned", and "pron" have become in-jokes among Internet groups and subcultures. In some online gaming cultures such as Second Life players often refer to their ability to both read and write "Typonese" due to the frequent misspelling during chat sessions. A widely mocked typo is the act of excitedly typing a series of exclamation marks with the failure to properly hold down the shift key (resulting, on a keyboard, in strings such as "!!!11"). This is often exaggerated by the replacement of "1" characters with literal "one"s, as in "OMG that is sooo interesting!!!1!one!"


Typosquatting is a form of cybersquatting which relies on typographical errors made by Internet users. Typically, the cybersquatter will register a plausible typo of a well-known website address in hopes of receiving traffic when Internet users mistype that address into a web browser. Deliberately introducing typos into a web page, or into its metadata, can also draw unwitting visitors when they enter these typos in Internet search engines.

Typos in online auctions

Since the emergence and popularization of online auction sites such as eBay, misspelled auction searches have quickly become a gold mine for deal hunters. The concept on which these searches are based is that if an individual posts an auction and misspells its description and/or title, regular searches will not find this auction. However, a search which includes misspelled alterations of the original search term in such a way as to create misspellings, transpositions, omissions, double strike, and wrong key errors would find most misspelled auctions. The resulting effect is that there are far fewer bids than there would be under normal circumstances allowing for the searcher to obtain the item for less. A series of third party web sites have sprung up allowing people to find these items.

Marking typos

When using a typewriter without correction tape, typos are commonly overstruck with another character such as a slash. This saves the typist the trouble of retyping the entire page to eliminate the error, but as evidence of the typo remains, it is not aesthetically pleasing.
In instant messaging, users often send messages in haste and only afterwards notice the typo. It is common practice to correct the typo by sending a subsequent message where an asterisk precedes or follows the correct word. For example:
Gabilicious: did u ese her? Gabilicious: see*
In such forms of teletype as have no backspace or delete key (particularly those that use Baudot code), an error that is caught immediately will be followed by 'X' repeated a few times, as a sort of representation of the mistake being exed out, with the correct spelling following, for example:
In formal prose it is sometimes necessary to accurately quote text which may contain typos. In such cases, the author will usually write "[sic]" to indicate that an error was in the original quoted source rather than in the transcription.
typo in Czech: Překlep
typo in Danish: Tyrkfejl
typo in German: Tippfehler
typo in French: Coquille (typographie)
typo in Korean: 오자
typo in Italian: Refuso
typo in Hebrew: טעות דפוס
typo in Dutch: Typefout
typo in Japanese: 誤植
typo in Polish: Literówka
typo in Portuguese: Erro tipográfico
typo in Finnish: Kirjoitusvirhe

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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