from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A metasyntactic variable used to represent an unspecified entity. If part of a series of such entities, it is often the first in the series, and followed immediately by bar.
  • n. fool, foolish person.
  • interj. Expression of disappointment or disgust.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See fu.


Circa 1935 as nonsense word, circa 1960 in programming sense. (Wiktionary)
Onomatopoeia. (Wiktionary)
Abbreviation of fool ("foolish person"). (Wiktionary)



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  • I heard a story that the foo-fighters (band) got their name from the term for an unidentified flying object, or unknown enemy airplane.

    foo is used heavily as a variable or function name in computing science. this goes back to before I studied CS in the 80's.

    doing a quick search of Google books, an early use of FOO in computing goes back to 1950 to the output of a diagnostic program which would print out FIBA FOO when it ran properly.

    January 5, 2013

  • I pity the foo.

    (I'm sorry, but somebody had to say it.)

    February 8, 2012

  • Also, see bar and baz.

    October 4, 2007

  • Notary Sojac?? So that's where my dad got that term!

    October 4, 2007

  • Me too foo. The Jargon File has a great overview of this word, with citations going back to the 1930s.

    October 4, 2007

  • So do I, foo.

    March 26, 2007

  • I use this word too much.

    March 26, 2007