Qwerty is an official word in the English dictionary (though highest usage is still in all-caps), describing the most common kind of keyboard. The first modern typewriter was created in 1867, and it utilized the more obvious abcde format. But because often-used letter combinations like s and t punched in close succession would jam the typewriter, manufacturers had to think of a different combination. So in 1874, the qwerty variation was introduced, arranged so that there was more space between frequently-used keys. Then it stuck and nobody wanted to get rid of it. While we're talking about keys, this would be a good time to mention that the tab key is a shortening of tabulate key (for it was used to construct tables) and the shift key caused the typewriter carriage to change position. How antiquated.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.