- 1 English
- 2 Middle English
- 3 Tetum
Circa 1935 as nonsense word, circa 1960 in programming sense.
Originated circa 1935 as nonsense word in Smokey Stover comic strip (1935–73) by Bill Holman (from which also foo fighter). Holman states that his usage was from seeing “foo” on the base of a jade Chinese figurine in Chinatown, San Francisco, meaning “good luck”, presumably a transliteration of the fu character 福 (fú, “fortune, happiness, prosperity”),  and figurines of the trio of eponymous male "star gods" Fú, Lù, Shòu are common in Chinese communities. Meaning influenced by fooey, fool, and feh. Used throughout the comic strip’s run, with later uses in the 1930s include The Daffy Doc (1938) and Pogo.
In computing usage, popularized by the Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC), whose 1959 Dictionary of the TMRC Language, had an entry similar to the following, parodying the mantra Om mani padme hum (replacing om with foo):
Wikipedia elaborates on the etymology (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foobar), in particular many believe that the programming usage derives from the military term "fubar" which was popularized by the book Catch-22.
- (computing) A metasyntactic variable used to represent an unspecified entity. If part of a series of such entities, it is often the first in the series, and followed immediately by bar.
- Suppose we have two objects, foo and bar.
- “foo”, The Jargon File
- ^ "The History of Bill Holman", Smokey-Stover.com, Smokey Stover LLC – article by nephew of Bill Holman
- ^ "Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion"
- Expression of disappointment or disgust.
- Oh foo – the cake burnt!
Abbreviation of fool (“foolish person”).
foo (plural foos)
- Alternative form of
- For usage examples of this term, see Citations:Foo.
foo (plural foos)
- to stink