Calculator Spelling

Calculator Spelling

Updated Aug 21, 2014 at 10:18PM EDT by RandomMan.

Added Apr 01, 2013 at 10:41AM EDT by Don.

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About

Calculator Spelling is the practice of spelling phrases, known as “calculator words,” by using numbers displayed upside-down on a calculator screen.

Origin

According to The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English,[1] the earliest known example dates back to the 1970s, in which the number sequence 5318008 is turned to spell the word “BOOBIES” (shown below).



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Other words have been spelled using the devices, including “hello” with the sequence 07734, “loose” with 35007, “shell” with 77345, “beige” with 36138 and “gobble” with 378806.

Non-English Variations

  • In Italian, the sequence 07738135 can be used to spell “sei bello” (“you are handsome” in English) and 05535 spells “sesso” ("sex in English).
  • The numbers 50135 spell “seios” in Portuguese (“breasts” in English). In Slavic languages, the sequence 50538 spells “debil” (“retard” in English).
  • The French word “debile” (“dumb” in English) can be spelled with 371830.
  • In Spanish, the numbers 50538 spell the word “besos” (kisses in English) and the numbers 07715708 spell the word “bolsillo” (“pocket” in English).
  • The sequence 71349315 spells the phrase “sieg heil,” a saying which was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany.[3]

External References

[1]The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (2006), Eric Partridge, Tom Dalzell, Terry Victor, pp. 2160

[2]Everything2 – Words that can be written on a calculator

[3]Wikipedia – Calculator spelling

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