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Subject: x
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Date: December 13, 2011 at 11:11:55 PM
Placeholder name From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia This article has multiple issues Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page It needs additional citations for verification Tagged since March It may contain excessive poor or irrelevant examples Tagged since December Its lead section may not adequately summarize its contents Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of the article s key points Tagged since June Look up whatshisname in Wiktionary the free dictionary Look up thingy in Wiktionary the free dictionary Placeholder names are words that can refer to objects or people whose names are either temporarily forgotten irrelevant or unknown in the context in which they are being discussed Whatchamacallit is an example Contents show edit Linguistic role These placeholders typically function grammatically as nouns and can be used for people e g John Doe Jane Doe objects e g widget or places e g Timbuktu They share a property with pronouns because their referents must be supplied by context but unlike a pronoun they may be used with no referent the important part of the communication is not the thing nominally referred to by the placeholder but the context in which the placeholder occurs Stuart Berg Flexner and Harold Wentworth s Dictionary of American Slang uses the term kadigan to describe placeholder words They define kadigan as a synonym for thingamajig The term may have originated with Willard R Espy though others such as David Annis also used it or cadigans in their writing Its etymology is obscure Flexner and Wentworth related it to the generic word gin for engine as in the cotton gin It may also relate to the Irish surname Cadigan Hypernyms words describing generic categories e g flower for tulips and roses may also be used in this function of a placeholder but they are not considered to be kadigans edit Placeholder names in English These words exist in a highly informal register of the English language In formal speech and writing words like accessory paraphernalia artifact instrument or utensil are preferred these words serve substantially the same function but differ in connotation Most of these words can be documented in at least the nineteenth century Edgar Allan Poe wrote a short story entitled The Literary Life of Thingum Bob Esq showing that particular form to be in familiar use in the United States in the s In Gilbert and Sullivan s The Mikado W S Gilbert makes the Lord High Executioner sing of a little list which includes apologetic statesmen of a compromising kind Such as What d ye call him Thing em bob and likewise Never mind and St st st and What s his name and also You know who The task of filling up the blanks I d rather leave to you Some fields have their own specific placeholder terminology For example widget in economics or Blackacre in law edit Computing specific Main article metasyntactic variable Placeholder names are used commonly in computing Foo Bar and Baz and combinations thereof are commonly used as placeholders for file function and variable names Distinguish FUBAR Hacker slang includes a number of placeholders such as frob which may stand for any small piece of equipment To frob likewise means to do something to something In practice it means to adjust a device in an aimless way Alice and Bob alternatives for Person A Person B when describing processes in telecommunications in cryptography Eve the eavesdropper is also added J Random X e g J Random Hacker J Random User is a term used in computer jargon for a randomly selected member of a set such as the set of all users Sometimes used as J Random Troll for any not very computer literate user edit Legal John Doe and the variations Jane Doe for females and John Roe for a second party are used in legal action and cases when the true identity of a person is unknown or must be withheld for legal reasons Jane Roe was used for the then unidentified plaintiff Norma Leah McCorvey in one of the most famous legal cases in United States history Roe v Wade Mopery is used in informal legal discussions as a placeholder for some infraction when the exact nature of the infraction is not important Blackacre and its neighbors Whiteacre Greenacre Brownacre Greyacre Pinkacre etc are used as placeholders for parcels of real property usually on Law School examinations and the several State Bar Exams They are located in Acre County in the fictional State of Franklin edit People Placeholder expressions can refer to people as well Among words or phrases used in English to refer to people of unknown or irrelevant name are Tom Dick and Harry for a series of three specific unnamed usually male people or for any number of unknown people usually with the term every for example Every Tom Dick and Harry showed up to the party Harriet may sometimes be substituted for Harry for a more gender balanced version of the phrase or Sally may be added as in the TV series rd Rock from the Sun Originated in the Early Modern period of literature as Rafe Robin and Dick who were often used as characters in plays Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all another placeholder phrase in this case used to indicate a long list of people So and so also often used as a euphemism for a stronger possibly vulgar epithet for example that stupid so and so Buddy Newfoundland English any male of unknown identity often used in conjunction with Whasisname Joe Bloggs British male referring to anyone of unknown identity Fred Bloggs British male referring to a subsequent unknown person Bob Soap alternative of Joe Bloggs Charlie Farnsbarns similar to Joe Bloggs Fred Nerks or Fred Nerk or just Fred as in Fred you can t turn right here Australian equivalent of Joe Bloggs John Q Public American English for the public at large John Q Law or Johnny Law American English for any law enforcement officer Joe Public British English an average person in the street A N Other usually British English unspecified person on a list often abbreviated to ANO Joe Blow

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