John Q. Public

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SS card featuring John Q. Public

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]


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[6] (as did Will Johnstone's earlier and similar character, "the Taxpayer", for the American New York World Telegram).[7] 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]

Albania Filan Fisteku
Argentina Juan Pérez, Fulano (de Tal) (likely from Arabic Fulan), Mengano, Menganito, Zultano or Sutano, Perengano, N.N.
Austria Hans Meier, Hans Maier, Hans Mayer, Herr und Frau Österreicher (Mr and Mrs Austrian), Max und Martha Mustermann, Otto Normalverbraucher, the Jeti-Tant' from Apetlon
Barbados John Brown,
Basque Country Iñaki, Patxi
Belgium Jan met de Pet, Jan Janssen, Piet Pietersen, Jos Joskens, Jan Modaal, Jef Klak
Bosnia and Herzegovina Marko Marković, Petar Petrović, Sima Simić
Brazil Fulano (de Tal), Sicrano, Beltrano, João da Silva, Zé da Silva, Zé Ninguém
Bulgaria Иван Иванов (Ivan Ivanov), лицето Х (Person X)
Chile Juan 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")
Colombia Fulano de Tal, Pepito Pérez
Costa Rica Juan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Sutano, Mengano, Perencejo
Croatia Ivan Horvat, Pero Perić
Cuba Fulano, Mengano, Ciclano, Esperancejo (female versions: Fulana, Mengana, Ciclana, Esperanceja.) Optional family name: de Tal ("of something or other")
Czech Republic Jan Novák, Karel Vomáčka, Tomáš Martiník, Jan Skočdopole, Josef Lazar
Denmark Hr. og fru Jensen (Mr and Mrs Jensen), Hr. og Fru Danmark, Morten Menigmand (Morten Simpleman), Hr. Sørensen (older usage,[8]), manden på/fra gaden (the man on/from the street).[9]
Ecuador Juan Perez, Fulano, Sultano, Mengano, Juan Piguabe
Egypt Folan (Arabic: فلان) (female: Folana, فلانة); Elan (علان), as partner.
Estonia Jaan Tamm (male), Tädi Maali (female)
Faroe Islands Miðalhampamaður
Finland Matti Meikäläinen (male, literally "our Matti"), Maija Meikäläinen (female, literally "our Maija")
France Jean Dupont, Monsieur Durand, Monsieur/Madame Tout-le-monde, Monsieur/Madame Untel, Madame Michu, Tartempion.
Germany Hinz und Kunz, Otto Normalverbraucher & Lieschen Müller, Max Mustermann
Greece Γιῶργος 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).
Guatemala Juan Pérez, Fulano, Sutano (or Zutano), Mengano, Perencejo
Hong Kong and Macao Chinese: 陳大文; Jyutping: caan4 daai6 man4 (for males)
Hungary Gipsz Jakab, Kovács János, Jóska Pista
India Hindi/Urdu: आम आदमी, عام آدمی (Aam Aadmi, literally "common man"); Tamil: Kuppan Suppan
Indonesia Si Polan
Iran Folani (فُلانی), Felani (فلانی), Yaroo (يارو)
Iceland Meðal-Jón, Meðal-Jóna, Jón Jónsson, Jóna Jónsdóttir
Ireland Joe Soap
Israel Israel Israeli (ישראל ישראלי)
Italy Mario Rossi, Tizio, Caio, Sempronio, Pinco Pallino, Casalinga di Voghera (Voghera Housewife)
Jamaica John 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)
Kenya Wanjiku (female)
Korea 홍길동 (Hong Gil-dong), 철수 (Cheol-Su), 영희 (Young-Hee) for women, 갑을병정 (Gap, Eul, Byung, Jung)for multiple people
Latvia Jānis Bērziņš
Lebanon Majhoul (Arabic: مجهول), Folan (Arabic: فلان) (female: Folana, Arabic: فلانة), Elan (Arabic: علان) as partner.
Lithuania Vardenis Pavardenis, Jonas Jonaitis, Petras Petraitis
Macedonia Петар Петровски (Petar Petrovski)
Malaysia Si Anu, Si Polan, Si Polan Bin Si Polan
Malta Joe Borg, Cikku l-poplu
Mauritius Mam, Misye Untel, Madam Untel
Mexico Juan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Mangano, Perengano, Zutano
Nepal Ram, Shyam, Hari and other colloquial names such as Chamar, Ram Kumar Deshar, Sigdel, and Jyapu
Netherlands Jan Modaal, Jan met de pet, Harry Holland, Fam. Doorsnee, Henk en Ingrid
New Zealand Joe Bloggs, John Doe, Bob Smith
Nigeria Nnaa, Okoro, Abokina
Norway Ola og Kari Nordmann (Ola and Kari Norwegian), Den hvite skattebetaler (The white taxpayer)
Pakistan Falana (male), Falani (female). Derived from the Persian equivalents.
Panama Juan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Sultano, Mengano
Paraguay Juan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Sultano, Mengano, N.N.
Peru Juan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Zutano, Mengano
Philippines Juan dela Cruz
Poland Jan Kowalski, Jan Nowak
Portugal Manuel dos Santos, Zé Ninguém, o Outro (the other one), Fulano, Sicrano, Fulano de tal, Zé Povinho, Zé da Esquina
Puerto Rico Fulano de Tal, Juan Perez, or Juan del Pueblo
Romania Escu, Gheorghe, Necunoscut, Xulescu, Cutare Cutărică
Russia Иванов (Ivanov), Петров (Petrov), Сидоров (Sidorov), Вася Пупкин (Vasya Pupkin), Маша Пупкина (Masha Pupkina), Петя Иванов (Petya Ivanov)
Serbia, Montenegro Petar Petrović, Pera Perić, Marko Marković, Janko Janković
Singapore Tan Ah Kao and Tan Ah Beng
Slovakia Jožko Mrkvička
Slovenia Janez Novak, Janez Pouprečnik
South Africa Koos van der Merwe, Piet Pompies
Spain male: 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)
Sweden Kalle Svensson, Medelsvensson, Svensson, Erik Johansson, Mannen på gatan ("the man on the street"), Gemene man ("average man"), Nisse i Hökarängen
Switzerland Herr 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)
Thailand Somchai, Sommai, (common names of either gender) Nai-Gor (นาย equivalent to Mr. A)
Turkey Sade Vatandaş; Ahmet/Mehmet, Ali/Veli, Hasan/Hüseyin (male); Ayşe/Fatma (female); Falan (kişi) / Filan (kişi, "somebody"; also female: Filane); Sari Cizmeli Mehmet Aga
Uruguay Fulano, Mengano; Juan Perez
Venezuela Fulano, Fulano de Tal, Sutano, Mengano, Perencejo, Pedro Perez, Juan de los Palotes, Juan Bimba
Vietnam Nguoi 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. ^ Sophie Gosselin. "Six Editorial Cartoonists and their Favourite Subjects". McCord Museum. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ Dewey, Donald (2008). The Art of Ill Will: The Story of American Political Cartoons. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0814720158. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ ODS, 'Sørensen' (1), ODS accessed Oct. 20, 2012
  9. ^ ODS, 'manden'