Banned Words

Johanna N Franklin johannaf+ at ANDREW.CMU.EDU
Wed Jan 12 03:32:35 UTC 2000

Excerpts from mail: 11-Jan-100 Re: Banned Words by "Dennis R. Preston"@PILO
> I don't understand your visceral reaction to "paradigm," but "fubar" to
> "foobar" would have occurred, I speculate, for the following reason. The
> "fubar" writers (for you cannot distinguish these two in speech, of course)
> are apparently aware of the etymology (acronymic "fucked up beyond all
> recognition"). The "foobar" speakers have heard it, but do not know the
> acronymic etymology.

    Actually, I don't think "foobar" is directly related to "fubar."  I
forget which programming language it was (C? C++?), but the creators (I
think) standardized three words - "foo," "bar," and "baz" - as
meaningless variable names.  Thus, my first programming instructor
always used "foo" if she needed a dummy variable to construct an
example.  If she needed more than one, she'd go to "bar," and then
"baz."  Occasionally "foobar," too.  Maybe "foobar" developed because of
the resemblance to "fubar," but it probably didn't originate that way.

    Johanna Franklin

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