[thelist] Kinda OT: Where did FUBAR come from?

Paul Cowan evolt at funkwit.com
Wed Nov 2 17:18:57 CST 2005

Casey wrote:
> I know what it stands for.. just wondering how it got to be so widely used 
> in the development world as the standard fill-in for variables and such.

Origin of the slang: U.S. Army. (see the great book The F Word by Jesse 
Sheidlower for examples of this and other F-word-related slang, much of 
which seems to come from the U.S. Army, funnily enough)

As to the origin of the use of foo and bar for metasyntactic variables 
in computing, you can hardly do any better than consult The Jargon File, 
which keeps track of such things (and is also available in book form):



<tip type="ASP/VBScript" Author="Paul Cowan">
VBScript (as used by many people in ASP) doesn't use short-circuit 
evaluation for boolean logic. For example, the following code:
	if (a > 0) and ((b / a) > 1) then
will fail with a divide-by-zero error if a is equal to 0. The fact that 
the first clause is there, and the AND logically means that the 
statement can never evaluate to true, will not stop the scripting engine 
from evaluating the second clause. Many people, used to other 
programming languages, assume otherwise, and put error-handling code 
like the above -- which sometimes never fails until years later because 
the error case is so rare anyway!

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