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


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).


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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