Posted by: episystechpubs | September 23, 2015

Editor’s Corner: So-and-so

During the Symitar Education Conference a few weeks ago, one of our illustrious presenters asked me if I knew where the term so-and-so came from as a placeholder for someone’s name. For example, “Can you tell me whether Butchie is bringing so-and-so to the party?”

This is what I found in Merriam-Webster, under the primary definition:

so-and-so

1: an unnamed or unspecified person or thing

Examples:

· <would argue as to whether so-and-so’s badger could lick such-and-such a dog — American Guide Series: Nevada>

· <the reason he didn’t was so-and-so — Ring Lardner>

· <word meaning so-and-so — Alexander d’Agapeyeff>

As you might be aware, sometimes so-and-so is also used in place of cursing. For example, “That Billy Bob McFadden is a real so-and-so; I’d really like to teach him some manners.” As it turns out, so-and-so stands for a very specific curse word. It begins with “b,” sounds a bit like “mustard,” and means “a child born out of wedlock.”

The first definition has been around since the 13th century.

Merriam-Webster has a passel of synonyms for so-and-so, for your reading pleasure:

beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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