John Doe and Joe Schmo

If you spend anytime in the US  you will most likely encounter John Doe and Joe Schmo.  Not physically, because these two guys are fictional.  Let’s start with John Doe, you might know him already from various TV shows – the name is used as a placeholder for a man if his name is not known or his identity can’t be divulged.  You will encounter John Does quite a bit if you are watching CSI – Crime Scene Investigation.  Whenever a dead guy turns up and they don’t know who he is, he is called John Doe until the identity can be established.

John Doe waiting to be identified, pic: marytrimble.blogspot.com

If the unknown person is a woman, her name is Jane Doe.  In the UK, Australia and New Zealand the Johns have a different last name: they are called John Bloggs.

Example: “John Doe did not have a drivers license or anything else that could identify him.  We are still working on his fingerprints in the hopes to establish his true identity.”

Joe Schmo (also Schmoe or Shmo) is a fictional name used for an average guy, someone without a special status.  It can have, but does not have to have a slight negative connotation.   I haven’t heard of a Jane Schmo yet.

Here is an example:  “In the crazy days of the real estate boom every Joe Schmo can walk into a bank and get qualified for a $500,000 home loan in a hour.”

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