John Doe

What does John Doe mean?

Placeholder name for an unknown man

John Doe is a name used to refer to a man when his real name is unknown or to conceal his identity intentionally. Law enforcement and court officials often utilize the name, but others may also use it, primarily when referring to a nondescript, ordinary man.

Where does John Doe come from?

The exact origins of the name are unclear. Some claim that its usage dates back to 14th century England. But the most prominent narrative is that the name came from the British legal process in the 1800s to refer to fictitious persons. Common names used were John Doe and Richard Roe.

Examples of John Doe usage

Doe and Roe have been utilized in some of the most high-profile court cases in the U.S., the most prominent being Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases regarding abortion in 1973. You may also hear people use it when describing strangers or average-looking people on social media or in person. Jane Doe is the female version of John Doe.


I'm getting weird vibes from that John Doe over there.
You want me to tell the bartender?
No, imma bounce.

Related Slang


Updated December 23, 2021

John Doe Definition by

This page explains what the slang term "John Doe" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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