John Q. Public

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John Q. Public (and several similar names; see the Variations section below) is a generic name in the United States to denote a hypothetical member of society deemed a "common man." He is presumed to represent the randomly selected "man on the street."


Similar terms include John Q. Citizen and John Q. Taxpayer, or Jane Q. Public, Jane Q. Citizen, and Jane Q. Taxpayer for a woman. The name John Doe is used in a similar manner. The term Tom, Dick and Harry is often used to denote multiple hypothetical persons.

Roughly equivalent are the names Joe Blow, Joe Six-pack, the nowadays less popular Joe Doakes and Joe Shmoe, the last of which implies a lower-class citizen (from the Yiddish schmo: simpleton, or possibly Hebrew sh'mo: (what's)-his-name).


In the United States, the term John Q. Public is used by law enforcement officers to refer to an individual with no criminal bent, as opposed to terms like perp (short for perpetrator) or skell to qualify unsavory individuals.[citation needed]

2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin famously referred to "Joe Sixpack and Hockey moms" during a debate. Presidential Candidate John McCain referenced a similar symbol, this time represented by an actual person, saying that Senator Obama's tax plan would hurt Joe the Plumber's bottom line. A fifteen-minute debate on this issue ensued, with both candidates speaking directly to "Joe".[1]

When John Q. Public is used in conjunction with an example credit card number, the number 1234 5678 9100 0000 is often used.[citation needed]


The term John Q. Public was the name of a character created by Vaughn Shoemaker, an editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Daily News, in 1922.[2] Jim Lange, the editorial cartoonist for The Oklahoman for 58 years, was closely identified with a version of the John Q. Public character,[3] whom he sometimes also called "Mr. Voter". Lange's version of the character was described as "bespectacled, mustachioed, fedora-wearing".[4] In 2006 the Oklahoma State Senate voted to make this character the "state's official editorial cartoon."[5]

Other English-speaking countries[edit]

The equivalent in the United Kingdom is Joe (or Jane) Public, John Smith, or Fred Bloggs or Joe Bloggs. Also, the man in the street, the man on the Clapham omnibus, and the aforementioned Tom, Dick and Harry. Tommy or Tommy Atkins is used as a generic soldier's name.

In Australia, John (or Jane) Citizen is usually seen as a placeholder in credit card advertisements, while Joe (or Jane) Bloggs is also commonly used in speech. Joe Blow is also used, often to suggest a possibly undesirable person. For example: "You left the door open so any Joe Blow could have walked in." Also used: Fred Nurk, Joe Farnarkle.[citation needed]

In Ireland Joe Soap is used as a generic reference to a male. Also Seán and Síle Citizen; Irish: Seán Ó Rudaí, from rud = thing(s).

In Canada, during the 1960s, a person appeared in editorial cartoons called Uno Who, representing an average, downtrodden citizen. He was always shown wearing a "bankruptcy barrel." French-Canadians also use Monsieur-Madame-Tout-le-Monde ("Mr-and-Ms-Everybody") or Monsieur Untel ("Mr-So-and-so"). Jos Bleau (Joe Blow, in French) and G. Raymond are also used in Canada (George Raymond is a real person at VISA in Montréal, where the abbreviated name appears on example cards).[citation needed] Occasionally, names which are invariant when translated between English and French are favoured in advertising material (such as "Nicole Martin" or "Carole Martin" on packets of retail coupons).

Variants in other countries[edit]

AlbaniaFilan Fisteku
ArgentinaJuan Pérez, Fulano (de Tal) (likely from Arabic Fulan), Mengano, Menganito, Zultano or Sutano, Perengano, N.N.
AustriaHans Meier, Hans Maier, Hans Mayer, Herr und Frau Österreicher (Mr and Mrs Austrian), Max und Martha Mustermann, Otto Normalverbraucher, the Jeti-Tant' from Apetlon
BarbadosJohn Brown,
Basque CountryIñaki, Patxi
BelgiumJan met de Pet, Jan Janssen, Piet Pietersen, Jos Joskens, Jan Modaal, Jef Klak
Bosnia and HerzegovinaMarko Marković, Petar Petrović, Sima Simić
BrasilFulano (de Tal), Sicrano, Beltrano, João da Silva, Zé da Silva, Zé Ninguém
BulgariaИван Иванов (Ivan Ivanov), лицето Х (Person X)
ChileJuan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Perico de los Palotes, Sra. Juanita, N.N. (Ningún Nombre, i.e., No Name, a nobody).
China陈小名[citation needed] (pinyin: Chén Xiǎomíng), 某某(人) (pinyin: Mǒumǒu (Rén), translated Somebody, sometimes used with a person's name), 老百姓 (pinyin: lǎobǎixìng, literally old hundred surnames, idiom for "common people/person")
ColombiaFulano de Tal, Pepito Pérez
Costa RicaJuan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Sutano, Mengano, Perencejo
CroatiaIvan Horvat, Pero Perić
CubaFulano, Mengano, Ciclano, Esperancejo (female versions: Fulana, Mengana, Ciclana, Esperanceja.) Optional family name: de Tal ("of something or other")
Czech RepublicJan Novák, Karel Vomáčka, Tomáš Martiník, Jan Skočdopole, Josef Lazar
DenmarkHr. og fru Jensen (Mr and Mrs Jensen), Morten Menigmand (Morten Simpleman), Hr. Sørensen (older usage,[6]), manden på/fra gaden (the man on/from the street).[7]
EcuadorJuan Perez, Fulano, Sultano, Mengano, Juan Piguabe
EgyptFolan (Arabic: فلان) (female: Folana, فلانة); Elan (علان), as partner.
EstoniaJaan Tamm (male), Tädi Maali (female)
Faroe IslandsMiðalhampamaður
FinlandMatti Meikäläinen (male, literally "our Matti"), Maija Meikäläinen (female, literally "our Maija")
FranceJean Dupont, Monsieur Durand, Monsieur/Madame Tout-le-monde, Monsieur/Madame Untel, Madame Michu, Tartempion.
GermanyHinz und Kunz, Otto Normalverbraucher & Lieschen Müller, Max Mustermann
GreeceΓιῶργος Τάδε (Giorgos Tade, male), Μαρία Τάδε (Maria Tade, female), Τάδε Ταδόπουλος (Tade Tadopoulos, male), Τάδε Ταδοπούλου (Tade Tadopulou, female), ὁ/ἡ Δείνα (his partner), Ἕνας Κάποιος (Enas Kapoios - somebody), Α. Β. Κάτοχος (A.B. Katohos, used on sample credit cards), Άγνωστος Χ (Unknown X).
GuatemalaJuan Pérez, Fulano, Sutano (or Zutano), Mengano, Perencejo
Hong Kong and MacaoChinese: 陳大文; pinyin: Chén Dàwén (for males), Chinese: 陳小明; pinyin: Chén Xiǎomíng (for boys)
HungaryGipsz Jakab, Kovács János, Jóska Pista
IndiaAam Aadmi (Language : Hindi, literally Common Man); Kuppan Suppan (Language : Tamil)
IndonesiaSi Polan
IranFolani (فُلانی), Felani (فلانی), Yaroo (يارو)
IcelandMeðal-Jón, Meðal-Jóna, Jón Jónsson, Jóna Jónsdóttir
IrelandSeán Citizen
IsraelIsrael Israeli (ישראל ישראלי)
ItalyMario Rossi, Tizio, Caio, Sempronio, Casalinga di Voghera (Voghera Housewife)
JamaicaJohn Brown, John Doe, Jane Doe
Japan山田 太郎 (Yamada Tarō), 山田 花子 (Yamada Hanako), 名無しの権兵衛 (Nanashi no Gombei), 何野 某 (Nanno Nanigashi)
KenyaWanjiku (female)
Korea홍길동 (Hong Gil-dong), 철수 (Cheol-Su), 영희 (Young-Hee) for women, 갑을병정 (Gap, Eul, Byung, Jung)for multiple people
LatviaJānis Bērziņš
LebanonMajhoul (Arabic: مجهول), Folan (Arabic: فلان) (female: Folana, Arabic: فلانة), Elan (Arabic: علان) as partner.
LithuaniaVardenis Pavardenis, Jonas Jonaitis, Petras Petraitis
MacedoniaПетар Петровски (Petar Petrovski)
MalaysiaSi Anu, Si Polan, Si Polan Bin Si Polan
MaltaJoe Borg, Cikku l-poplu
MauritiusSa Nation la, Sa boug la (males); Safame la, Sapitin la (females)
MexicoJuan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Mangano, Perengano, Zutano
NepalRam, Shyam, Hari and other colloquial names such as Chamar, Ram Kumar Deshar, Sigdel, and Jyapu
NetherlandsJan Modaal, Jan met de pet, Harry Holland, Fam. Doorsnee, Henk en Ingrid
New ZealandJoe Bloggs, John Doe, Bob Smith
NigeriaNnaa, Okoro, Abokina
NorwayOla og Kari Nordmann (Ola and Kari Norwegian), Den hvite skattebetaler (The white taxpayer)
PakistanFalana (male), Falani (female). Derived from the Persian equivalents.
PanamaJuan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Sultano, Mengano
ParaguayJuan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Sultano, Mengano, N.N.
PeruJuan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Zutano, Mengano
PhilippinesJuan dela Cruz
PolandJan Kowalski, Jan Nowak
PortugalManuel dos Santos, Zé Ninguém, o Outro (the other one), Fulano, Sicrano, Fulano de tal, Zé Povinho, Zé da Esquina
Puerto RicoFulano de Tal, Juan Perez, or Juan del Pueblo
RomaniaEscu, Gheorghe, Necunoscut, Xulescu, Cutare Cutărică
RussiaИванов (Ivanov), Петров (Petrov), Сидоров (Sidorov), Вася Пупкин (Vasya Pupkin), Маша Пупкина (Masha Pupkina), Петя Иванов (Petya Ivanov)
Serbia, MontenegroPetar Petrović, Pera Perić, Marko Marković, Janko Janković
SingaporeTan Ah Kao and Tan Ah Beng
SlovakiaJožko Mrkvička
SloveniaJanez Novak, Janez Pouprečnik
South AfricaKoos van der Merwe, Piet Pompies
Spainmale: Fulano (de Tal), Fulanito (de Tal), Pepe Pérez, Mengano, Menganito, Perico de los Palotes, Menganito de Cual, Zutano, Zutanito, Sultano, Sultanito, Don Nadie, Juan Nadie, Perengano. Female: Fulanita (de Tal), Mengana, Menganita (de Tal)
SwedenKalle Svensson, Medelsvensson, Svensson, Erik Johansson, Mannen på gatan ("the man on the street"), Gemene man ("average man"), Nisse i Hökarängen
SwitzerlandHerr und Frau Schweizer (Mr and Mrs Swiss), Hans Meier, Hans Mustermann, Max Muster
Taiwan張三 (Chang number three); 李四 (Lee number four); 王五 (Wang number five)
ThailandSomchai, Sommai, (common names of either gender) Nai-Gor (นาย equivalent to Mr. A)
TurkeySade Vatandaş; Ahmet/Mehmet, Ali/Veli, Hasan/Hüseyin (male); Ayşe/Fatma (female); Falan (kişi) / Filan (kişi, "somebody"; also female: Filane); Sari Cizmeli Mehmet Aga
UruguayFulano, Mengano; Juan Perez
VenezuelaFulano, Fulano de Tal, Sutano, Mengano, Perencejo, Pedro Perez, Juan de los Palotes, Juan Bimba
VietnamNguoi La, Người dấu tên

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "McCain, Obama go head to head in last debate -". CNN. October 15, 2008. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Vaughn Shoemaker; Created John Q. Public". The New York Times. August 22, 1991. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ Longtime cartoonist Jim Lange dies, The Oklahoman, April 18, 2009.
  4. ^ Goodbye, Jim: Our hats are off for 58-year cartoonist, The Oklahoman, April 19, 2009.
  5. ^ Mr. Voter Tapped by Senate as State’s Official Editorial Cartoon, Oklahoma State Senate News, March 9, 2006 (retrieved May 25, 2009).
  6. ^ ODS, 'Sørensen' (1), ODS accessed Oct. 20, 2012
  7. ^ ODS, 'manden'