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  • gag
    vi. Equivalent to {choke}, but connotes more disgust. "Hey, this is FORTRAN code. No wonder the C compiler gagged." See also {barf}.


  •  View Definition: metasyntactic variable 

    metasyntactic variable


    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 is the canonical 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 scratch 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

    foo, bar, baz, quux, 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 before quux. foo, bar, thud, grunt This series was popular at CMU. Other CMU-associated variables include gorp. foo, bar, fum This series is reported common at XEROX PARC. fred, barney See the entry for fred. These tend to be Britishisms. toto, titi, tata, tutu Standard series of metasyntactic variables among francophones. corge, grault, flarp