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    n. A hole in the security of a system deliberately left in place by designers or maintainers. The motivation for this is not... VIEW ENTIRE DEFINITION


  •  View Definition: foo 

    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. See also bar, baz, qux, quux, corge, grault, garply, waldo, fred, plugh, xyzzy, thud.

    The etymology of hackish `foo' is obscure. When used in connection with `bar' it is generally traced to the WWII-era Army slang acronym FUBAR (`Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition'), later bowdlerized to foobar. (See also FUBAR).

    However, the use of the word `foo' itself has more complicated antecedents, including a long history in comic strips and cartoons. The old "Smokey Stover" comic strips by Bill Holman often included the word `FOO', in particular on license plates of cars; allegedly, `FOO' and `BAR' also occurred in Walt Kelly's "Pogo" strips. In the 1938 cartoon "Daffy Doc", a very early version of Daffy Duck holds up a sign saying "SILENCE IS FOO!"; oddly, this seems to refer to some approving or positive affirmative use of foo. It has been suggested that this might be related to the Chinese word `fu' (sometimes transliterated `foo'), which can mean "happiness" when spoken with the proper tone (the lion-dog guardians flanking the steps of many Chinese restaurants are properly called "fu dogs").

    It is even possible that hacker usage actually springs from `FOO, Lampoons and Parody', the title of a comic book first issued in September 1958; the byline read `C. Crumb' but the style of the art suggests this may well have been a sort-of pseudonym for noted weird-comix artist Robert Crumb. The title FOO was featured in large letters on the front cover. What the word meant to Mr. Crumb is anybody's guess.

    An old-time member reports that in the 1959 `Dictionary of the TMRC Language', compiled at TMRC there was an entry that went something like this

    FOO The first syllable of the sacred chant phrase "FOO MANE PADME HUM." Our first obligation is to keep the foo counters turning.

    For more about the legendary foo counters, see TMRC. Almost the entire staff of what became the MIT AI LAB was involved with TMRC, and probably picked the word up there.

    Very probably, hackish `foo' had no single origin and derives through all these channels from Yiddish `feh' and/or English `fooey'.