Origins of the term 'WYSIWYG?

Al Kossow aek at
Mon Jan 16 13:01:53 CST 2017

On 1/16/17 10:48 AM, william degnan wrote:
> Maybe Ted Nelson used the term to refer to computing specifically in late
> 1960s or within Dream Machines?
> b
> On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 1:36 PM, Al Kossow <aek at> wrote:
>> Yes, but the actual phrase comes from the Flip Wilson show
>> On 1/16/17 10:25 AM, Tony Duell wrote:
>>> I wonder what predates that usage (if anything)


The phrase "what you see is what you get", from which the acronym derives, was a catchphrase popularized by Flip
Wilson's drag persona Geraldine, first appearing in September 1969, then regularly in the early 1970s on The Flip Wilson
Show. The phrase was a statement demanding acceptance of Geraldine's entire personality and appearance.

As it relates to computing, there are multiple claims to first use of the phrase:

    In mid-1975, John W. Seybold, the founder of Seybold Publications, and researchers at PARC, incorporated Gypsy
software into Bravo to create Bravo 3, which allowed text to be printed as displayed. Charles Simonyi and the other
engineers appropriated Flip Wilson's popular phrase around that time.[13][14]
    Barbara Beeton reports that the term was coined by Bill Tunnicliffe in a presentation at a 1978 committee meeting
involving the Graphic Communications Association (GCA), the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and the Printing
Industries of America (PIA).[15]
    The phrase was coined in 1982[16] by Larry Sinclair, an engineer at Information International, Inc. ("Triple I") to
express the idea that what the user sees on the screen is what the user gets on the printer while using the "page layout
system", a pre-press typesetting system first shown at ANPS in Las Vegas.[when?]

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