Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A typo fairy is a fictional being commonly used as an explanation (or excuse) for typos. Typo fairies are usually described as being either small, winged and luminous, or invisible, and as sporting a mischievous mindset. They are invoked as an explanation for typos (typing mistakes, misspellings and the like) among computer users, especially those who would normally do better.
This is far from the first appearance of the gag. The idea probably originated with 19th-century printers and typographers, who used to jokingly blame all their mistakes on fictional fairies, dwarfs, or gremlins.
Typo fairies have equivalents in many cultures. For example, a Finnish equivalent is called painovirhepaholainen ("typo demon": literally, "typesetting mistake devil"). More often than not intentionally misspelled, this term has been in established use since at least the 1920s. The countless variants range from painoviher ("print green") to pianoviehe ("piano lure"). The "devil" or "demon" variant is also found in the German term Fehlerteufel ("error devil"), and in the Dutch term zetduiveltje ("little printing devil"). In Poland, such a creature is usually known as a chochlik drukarski ("printing-press dwarf").
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