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I would like to know what's the meaning and in which situations would one use the expression "Enter [somebody]", like "we were trying to find a solution. Enter John".

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I have a followup question, but it's perhaps too tangential so I posted it as a new question here link – RoundTower Jul 1 '11 at 22:16
up vote 27 down vote accepted

That's from stage directions for plays. "Enter [Name]" and "Exit [Name]" are commonly used to indicate when a player is entering or leaving the scene.

Naturally, it's been incorporated into the language to achieve a dramatic effect, and has come to be used when the speaker or writer wants to achieve a bold announcement, especially in titles. Cf. Enter the Dragon, etc.

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Dun-dun-dun, other dramatic orchestra hits. – KeithS Jul 1 '11 at 15:44
+1 for Enter the Dragon, which is the first thing I thought of when I read the title. – Kit Z. Fox Jul 2 '11 at 0:18
I always thought Enter the Dragon was a movie about some guys journey into a dragon's stomach. – rest_day Jul 2 '11 at 0:31
This is also one of the places where latin verb declension is still used, as in exeunt (they exit). I don't believe that enter is a correct latin verb form though. Now I see RoundTower already mentioned this in his followup question. – Ben Voigt Jul 2 '11 at 1:54
Is it telling that the first thing I thought of was Enter Sandman? – Matt E. Эллен Nov 15 '11 at 11:09

In the example you gave, the phrase Enter John, is another way of saying "this is where John comes in (to the story)." It also implies that John was the solution to the problem, or that he figured out the solution. So Enter [somebody] (stage direction shorthand as mentioned) is often used in conversation to indicate coincidental, surprising, or opportune timing.

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protected by RegDwigнt Mar 18 '12 at 16:31

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