n. A name used in examples and understood
to stand for whatever thing is under discussion, or any random
member of a class of things under discussion. The word foo
example. To avoid confusion, hackers never
(well, hardly ever) use `foo' or other words like it as permanent
names for anything. In filenames, a common convention is that any
filename beginning with a metasyntactic-variable name is a
file that may be deleted at any time.
To some extent, the list of one's preferred metasyntactic variables
is a cultural signature. They occur both in series (used for
related groups of variables or objects) and as singletons. Here
are a few common signatures
, quuux, quuuux...
MIT/Stanford usage, now found everywhere (thanks largely to early
versions of this lexicon!). At MIT, baz
dropped out of use for
a while in the 1970s and '80s. A common recent mutation of this
sequence inserts qux
, thud, grunt
This series was popular at CMU. Other CMU-associated variables
This series is reported common at XEROX PARC.
See the entry for fred
. These tend to be Britishisms.
, titi, tata, tutu
Standard series of metasyntactic variables among francophones.