Browse Definitions:


A grawlix is a sequence of typographical symbols used to represent a non-specific, profane word or phrase. Here's an example of a typical grawlix:


The term first appeared in a 1964 article called Let's get down to grawlixes by American cartoonist Mort Walker, who is best known as the creator of the Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois cartoons. Later, in a book called The Lexicon of Comicana, Walker created and named an international set of symbols used in comics around the world. Walker called his system Symbolia.

Here are some examples of other terms in the list:

  • agitrons: wiggly lines indicating that something is shaking
  • briffits: clouds of dust indicating that a character left in a rush
  • emanata: straight lines rising from around a character's head indicating surprise
  • plewds: drops of sweat indicating that a character is hot or stressed
  • squeans: asterisks with an empty center indicating drunkenness or dizziness
  • waftaroms: wavy lines rising from something indicating a strong smell or heat.

Some of the symbols used in Symbolia, such as the squean, are not represented on a keyboard or in commonly-used fonts. Some comic-oriented fonts, such as MarkerMan, include Symbolia characters.

This was last updated in June 2010

Continue Reading About grawlix

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.