What Does Foo Mean?

Foo is commonly used slang term in computer programming as a term to express different variables, functions and other specific concept commands.


Techopedia Explains Foo

The meaning of foo in computer programming and pseudocode varies. Some users use the term extensively, while many others prefer descriptive names that decrease any possibility of misunderstanding.

Foo and similar terms do not have an easily traceable origin, but there are several theories. Some researchers assert that FUBAR – a German military slang term that refers to something that isn’t working – is the origin of Foo.

MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club may be responsible for Foo’s application in the hacker and programming world, where scam switches were distributed and possibly discarded in the event of undesired conditions.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.