I observed this many times while reading novels and watching movies. Unknown people are always referred to as a John Doe or Jane doe. I am really curious to know how these terms originated?why John doe and not shane lee or something?

  • Is this question okay? You can quickly Google it, it's not a hard thing to find. John Doe apparently comes from an old British cases where "John Doe" was a common fictitious name for the plaintiff and "Richard Roe" was common for the defendant. There were apparently other names, but this one stuck. If you google your question, you will get tons of answers for it, so I'm not going to give you any links, but that's a general response.
    – Ice-9
    Mar 10 '14 at 13:40
  • Welcome to EL&U! Please include your research in your question. Mar 10 '14 at 13:41
  • 1
    @Ice-9 The interesting thing is that we never use the name 'John Doe' in this way in Britain. His UK opposite number is 'Joe Bloggs'.
    – WS2
    Mar 10 '14 at 14:14
  • @WS2, I didn't know that! I'd only ever heard Joe Bloggs when I was taking courses for standardized testing. The teacher would call the answer a "Joe Bloggs answer" if it was an answer that was misleading, but I'd always thought it was just his way of making learning anything for a standardized test interesting.
    – Ice-9
    Mar 10 '14 at 14:25
  • @Ice-9 'Joe Bloggs' is not typically a person of great intellect, or achievement. He is the quintessential ordinary bloke!
    – WS2
    Mar 10 '14 at 14:29

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