Explanations of… > What is foo?
This item was added on: 2003/02/07 foo /foo/ 1. interj. Term of disgust. 2. [very common] Used very generally as a sample name for absolutely anything, esp. programs and files (esp. scratch files). 3. First on the standard list of metasyntactic variables used in syntax examples. See also bar, baz, qux, quux, corge, grault, garply, waldo, fred, plugh, xyzzy, thud. When `foo’ is used in connection with `bar’ it has generally been traced to the WWII-era Army slang acronym FUBAR (`****ed Up Beyond All Repair’), later modified to foobar. Early versions of the Jargon File interpreted this change as a post-war bowdlerization, but it it now seems more likely that FUBAR was itself a derivative of `foo’ perhaps influenced by German `furchtbar’ (terrible) – `foobar’ may actually have been the original form. For, it seems, the word `foo’ itself had an immediate prewar history in comic strips and cartoons. The earliest documented uses were in the “Smokey Stover” comic strip published from about 193