/kwer'tee/ adj. [from the keycaps at the upper left] Pertaining to a standard English-language typewriter keyboard (sometimes called the Sholes keyboard after its inventor), as opposed to Dvorak or non-US-ASCII layouts or a space-cadet keyboard
or APL keyboard.
Historical note: The QWERTY layout is a fine example of a fossil
. It is sometimes said that it was designed to slow down the typist, but this is wrong; it was designed to allow _faster_ typing -- under a constraint now long obsolete. In early typewriters, fast typing using nearby type-bars jammed the mechanism. So Sholes fiddled the layout to separate the letters of many common digraphs (he did a far from perfect job, though; `th', `tr', `ed', and `er', for example, each use two nearby keys). Also, putting the letters of `typewriter' on one line allowed it to be typed with particular speed and accuracy for demo
s. The jamming problem was essentially solved soon afterward by a suitable use of springs, but the keyboard layout lives on.
The QWERTY keyboard has also spawned some unhelpful economic myths about how technical standards get and stay established; see `http://www.reasonmag.com/9606/Fe.QWERTY.html'.