Origins of the term 'WYSIWYG?

allison ajp166 at
Mon Jan 16 13:21:15 CST 2017

On 1/16/17 2:04 PM, Tony Duell wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 7:01 PM, Al Kossow <aek at> wrote:
>> Etymology
>> 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?]
> Sure...
> My point is that a very similar phrase ('What you see, you get') was
> used by a camera manufactuer
> some 15 years earlier (at least).
> -tony
But the camera ad did not have WYSYG it had the full sentence and was 
not pronounced as Wissygit or some variation.
By the 1980s that new word from the pronunciation of the acronym trend 
had started to happen.

Likely its older than that but its a evolutionary thing as to usage and 
how it was said and written.

That lead to WYSIWYG pronounced as wizzywhig, from the former what you 
see is what you get.  There were variations
as well.


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