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Etymology of "Foo" (RFC3092)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000005287D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Aug-21
Document File: 15 page(s) / 29K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

D. Eastlake 3rd: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Approximately 212 RFCs so far, starting with RFC 269, contain the terms `foo', `bar', or `foobar' as metasyntactic variables without any proper explanation or definition. This document rectifies that deficiency.

This text was extracted from a ASCII document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 16% of the total text.

Network Working Group D. Eastlake 3rd Request for Comments: 3092 Motorola Category: Informational C. Manros

Xerox

E. Raymond Open Source Initiative

1 April 2001

Etymology of "Foo"

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2001). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

Approximately 212 RFCs so far, starting with RFC 269, contain the terms `foo', `bar', or `foobar' as metasyntactic variables without any proper explanation or definition. This document rectifies that deficiency.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction............................................1 2. Definition and Etymology................................2 3. Acronyms................................................5 Appendix...................................................7 Security Considerations...................................11 References................................................12 Authors' Addresses........................................13 Full Copyright Statement..................................14

1. Introduction

Approximately 212 RFCs, or about 7% of RFCs issued so far, starting with [RFC269], contain the terms `foo', `bar', or `foobar' used as a metasyntactic variable without any proper explanation or definition. This may seem trivial, but a number of newcomers, especially if English is not their native language, have had problems in understanding the origin of those terms. This document rectifies that deficiency.

Eastlake, et al. Informational [Page 1]

RFC 3092 Etymology of "Foo" 1 April 2001

Section 2 below describes the definition and etymology of these words and Section 3 interprets them as acronyms.

As an Appendix, we include a table of RFC occurrences of these words as metasyntactic variables.

2. Definition and Etymology

bar /bar/ n. [JARGON]

1. The second metasyntactic variable, after foo and before baz.

"Suppose we have two functions: FOO and BAR. FOO calls BAR...."

2. Often appended to foo to produce foobar.

foo /foo/

1. interj. Term of disgust.

2. 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 (bar, baz, qux, quux, corge, grault, garply, waldo, fred, plugh, xyzzy, thud). [JARGON]

When used in connection with `bar' it is generally traced to the WW II era Army slang acronym FUBAR (`Fucked Up Beyond All Repair'), later modified to foobar. Early versions of the Jargon File [JARGON] interpreted this change as a post-war bowdlerization, but it now seems more likely that FUBAR was itself a derivative of `foo' perhaps influenced by German `furchtba...