QWERTY

DEFINITION

noun, often not capitalized a standard typewriter or computer keyboard — called also QWERTY keyboard

EXAMPLES

My new cell phone has a mini QWERTY keyboard that slides out for easy use.

“Touch-screen keyboards enable rapid reconfiguration, even between a QWERTY and alphabetical arrangement.” — From the 2010 book Handbook of Human Factors in Medical Device Design

DID YOU KNOW?

If you look at the topmost row of letters on your computer keyboard, you’ll see where the QWERTY got its name. Why did Christopher Latham Sholes choose that particular arrangement of letters when he was developing the modern typewriter in the late 1860s and early 1870s? Popular myth holds that the QWERTY maximizes efficiency by placing the most often used letters in the most accessible places, but the truth is that the QWERTY was actually designed to slow typists down. Sholes’s first typewriters were cumbersome and jammed easily if the keys were pressed too fast, so he picked letter positions that let the typist go faster than a pen, but not fast enough to bollix the machine.

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