Main definitions of so in English

: so1so2

so1

adverb

  • 1as submodifier To such a great extent.

    ‘the words tumbled out so fast that I could barely hear them’
    ‘don't look so worried’
    ‘I'm not so foolish as to say that’
    • ‘She, like the rest of the family, had not expected Belinda to be away for so long.’
    • ‘Everyone must have put in so many hours to get it right, so a big thank you to all.’
    • ‘I am not so stupid as to consider myself original.’
    • ‘Our politicians have plundered the system for so long, corruption is part of life.’
    • ‘I sang so loud that I'm still hoarse now, almost 24 hours later!’
    • ‘Sometimes we write songs so slowly that we never get around to recording them.’
    • ‘Not so long ago a new train service was inaugurated with due pomp and ceremony.’
    • ‘She did not know why God kept her here so long but believed that He must have had a purpose.’
    • ‘Everything had happened so fast he barely was able to absorb all the information.’
    • ‘On the Internet we had so many hits in the first hour that we were really struggling.’
    1. 1.1 Extremely; very much (used for emphasis)
      ‘she looked so pretty’
      ‘I do love it so’
      • ‘Their bathroom was so clean!’
      • ‘We are so pleased to be hosting this third debate.’
      • ‘Arthur liked Ben a great deal, but no one could predict how a marriage would fare and he wanted so much for this one to be successful.’
      • ‘When we were interviewing Betsey Wright, I was so grateful to her for trusting us that much.’
      • ‘I wanted to like the movie if only because the critics hated it so, but I couldn't deny the unmistakable truth that it was not very good.’
      • ‘Thank you so much for all the comments, they mean more than you know.’
      • ‘It never even gets as far as a fight, because my wife is so much more organised than me.’
      • ‘He was so handsome in his dark Sunday suit.’
      extremely, very, exceedingly, exceptionally, especially, extraordinarily, tremendously, vastly, hugely, abundantly, intensely, acutely, singularly, significantly, distinctly, outstandingly, uncommonly, unusually, decidedly, particularly, eminently, supremely, highly, remarkably, really, truly, mightily, thoroughly, to a fault, in the extreme, extra
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2informal Used to emphasize a clause or negative statement.
      ‘that's so not fair’
      ‘you are so going to regret this’
      • ‘That's so not funny.’
      • ‘You so need a cell phone.’
      • ‘We're so going to be late!’
      • ‘I'm so not a party person, which is why I escape here.’
    3. 1.3informal Used with a gesture to indicate size.
      ‘the bird was about so long’
      • ‘Have you seen a girl, about so high, with long blonde hair?’
      • ‘‘Oh, it's flat like a coin, but about so big,’ said Erin, gesturing with his hands.’
  • 2as submodifier, with negative To the same extent (used in comparisons)

    ‘he isn't so bad as you'd think’
    ‘help without which he would not have done so well’
    • ‘It's not so difficult as it seems.’
    • ‘No question, Slurpees are the best car drink ever, and they never taste so good as on a roadtrip.’
    • ‘This did not prove so easy as he had hoped.’
    • ‘I feel fine, at least not so tired as I felt before.’
  • 3Referring back to something previously mentioned.

    1. 3.1 That is the case.
      ‘if she notices, she never says so’
      ‘I hear that you're a writer—is that so?’
      ‘‘Has somebody called an ambulance?’ ‘I believe so’’
      • ‘Although currently set to be demolished, Ashfield Works could be structurally sound - and if so could be ideal for development.’
      • ‘Is there a place for direct marketing? I think so.’
      • ‘Perhaps his next stop in Houston will be a better one. Let's hope so!’
      • ‘The beans were cream-colored, with a yellow hue, or so he said.’
      • ‘I watched an episode, saw nothing wrong with it, and said so.’
    2. 3.2 Similarly; and also.
      ‘times have changed and so have I’
      • ‘New Zealand know they are going to get a lot better: they made mistakes, and so did we.’
      • ‘I went from an unfit person to a fit person and so can you!’
    3. 3.3 Expressing agreement.
      ‘‘There's another one.’ ‘So there is.’’
      • ‘‘You were there, too.’ ‘So I was.’’
    4. 3.4Irish Used for emphasis in a formula added at the end of a statement.
      ‘your old man was the salt of the earth, so he was’
      • ‘She was a lovely girl, so she was.’
      • ‘He left us down, so he did!’
    5. 3.5informal Used to emphatically contradict a negative statement.
      ‘it is so!’
      • ‘‘You're not Icelandic.’ ‘I am so.’’
  • 4In the way described or demonstrated; thus.

    ‘hold your arms so’
    ‘so it was that he was still a bachelor’
    • ‘And so it was that Mark ended up taking us home in his old pick-up truck at about 10:30.’
    consequently, as a consequence, in consequence, so, that being so, therefore, accordingly, hence, as a result, for that reason, for this reason, because of that, because of this, on that account, on this account
    like that, like this, in that way, in this way, in that manner, in this manner, in that fashion, in this fashion, so, like so
    View synonyms

conjunction

  • 1And for this reason; therefore.

    ‘it was still painful so I went to see a specialist’
    ‘you know I'm telling the truth, so don't interrupt’
    • ‘I have to move my cattle over to somewhere else, requiring me to lease property, so I want money for that.’
    • ‘There is very little between teams now they are all champions, so to say that any team should be outstanding favourites is not realistic.’
    • ‘I think I've been playing very well, so to say that my heart's not in it is hurtful.’
    • ‘Each of them can be downloaded free of charge, so go ahead and do it.’
    • ‘By the time we bought our tickets it was almost 5:30 so we hurried back to the hotel.’
    accurate, correct, verifiable, faithful, literal, veracious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1so that With the result that.
      ‘it was overgrown with brambles, so that I had difficulty making any progress’
      • ‘The lawyer said the American was inebriated at the time, so that he had lost control of his actions.’
      • ‘When it was translated it usually meant no more to her than it did in English, so that she did not know what to reply.’
  • 2so thatWith the aim that; in order that.

    ‘they whisper to each other so that no one else can hear’
    • ‘Janelle said that she will take all of the kids out so that we can have a romantic night in.’
    • ‘She picks up the newspaper and holds it up so that she can't see me.’
    • ‘We know from her letters that Frances destroyed the original, so that it would not injure her husband's reputation.’
  • 3And then; as the next step.

    ‘and so to the final’
    • ‘And so to the afternoon's entertainments.’
  • 4Introducing a question.

    ‘so, what did you do today?’
    • ‘So, how are you, Mona?’
    • ‘So, when's the next game?’
    1. 4.1 Introducing a question following on from what was said previously.
      ‘so what did he do about it?’
      • ‘If you plan to rely solely on the government when times are hard, you run the risk of repossession. So, what are the alternatives?’
    2. 4.2informal Why should that be considered significant?
      ‘‘He came into the shop this morning.’ ‘So?’’
      ‘so what if he failed?’
      • ‘‘He's an estate agent.’ ‘So?’’
      • ‘The film's heart is undoubtedly in the right place, but so what?’
  • 5Introducing a statement which is followed by a defensive comment.

    ‘so I like keeping track of things—what's wrong with that?’
    • ‘So we've had a bad past - forget about it.’
    • ‘The truth does hurt, so what's the big deal?’
  • 6Introducing a concluding statement.

    ‘so that's that’
    • ‘But I've got a very busy day lined up, so that's all for now.’
    • ‘OK, so that's enough talk from me about that.’
  • 7In the same way; correspondingly.

    ‘just as bad money drives out good, so does bad art drive out the good’
    • ‘As the weather's been getting more heated, so has she.’
    • ‘If you start out sensibly, improving your performance, you'll find that just as a muscle strengthens, so will your willpower.’

Phrases

  • and so on (or forth)

    • And similar things; et cetera.

      ‘these savouries include cheeses, cold meats, and so on’
      • ‘For the footballers, it is too much too young, a lack of education and so on.’
      • ‘Also, be aware that sugar might be described as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose and so on.’
      • ‘We are often too anxious to have it all and have it now, so some become white collar criminals and so on.’
      • ‘This region used to be the bedrock of conflicts and cold War politics and so forth.’
      • ‘Told in verse, each character ends up with a book which in turn introduces us to the next character, and so on.’
      • ‘One more person might get to hear about the author, might talk about it, might buy a proper copy for a friend, and so forth.’
      • ‘He could go harder and longer than most of the other athletes in long distance training and so forth.’
      • ‘The company should stress that it uses real chocolate, butter and cream rather than vegetable oils and so on.’
      • ‘If you believe in freedom of speech, assembly, religion and so forth, why not embrace the free market?’
      • ‘She was convicted simply for tampering with evidence such as erasing phone logs and so on.’
      and so on, and so forth, and so on and so forth, and the rest, and the like, or the like, and suchlike, or suchlike, and more of the same, or more of the same, and similar things, or similar things, et cetera et cetera, and others, among others, et al., etc.
      View synonyms
  • just so much

    • derogatory Emphasizing a large amount of something.

      ‘it's just so much ideological cant’
      • ‘To them, rock tradition is just so much cliché, rock mythology is very possibly untrue, and they've poked fun at poseurs from day one.’
      • ‘Beneath it all, though, the verbal barrage is really just so much wisecracking.’
      • ‘There's just so much paperwork out there that it's really not a targeted effort.’
      • ‘There's just so much extra clunky junk that the story never quite makes its way through.’
      • ‘There's just so much interesting information to be found!’
      • ‘But is it an agenda to save the planet, or just so much hot air?’
      • ‘Outside such parameters, it's just so much speculation, no matter how poetically put.’
      • ‘Until then, it will look like just so much smoke and mirrors from the old order of duplicity and double standards.’
      • ‘Bollywood was for the masses, its excrescences like posters and billboards and lobby cards just so much kitsch.’
      • ‘Natural History programmes are just so much noise these days.’
  • not so much — as —

    • Not — but rather —

      ‘the novel was not so much unfinished as unfinishable’
      • ‘She is not so much cautious as thoughtful and reasoned: extremely useful qualities for new organisations in uncertain waters.’
      • ‘Bobby Gillespie at 40 is not so much middle-aged as never-aged.’
      • ‘What's different now, though, is that feminism appears not so much dead as obsolete.’
      • ‘The connection between growth and ideas is not so much logical as psychological.’
      • ‘It is not so much a case of dumbing down, as pumping up the volume and giving it back to the people.’
      • ‘His public relations skills are not so much negligible as negative.’
      • ‘The hysteria was not so much instantaneous as ready-made.’
      • ‘Revolutionary France was not so much backward as different in the route it took towards industrialization.’
      • ‘Their reasoning is not so much theological as magical.’
      • ‘It is not so much to keep the cash flowing as to satisfy his addiction to writing stories.’
  • only so much

    • A limited amount.

      ‘there is only so much you can do to protect yourself’
      • ‘The council can do only so much - it has limited staff and cleaning up careless waste costs money.’
      • ‘However, there is only so much that can be achieved through coaching alone.’
      • ‘There is only so much battering, criticism and friendlessness any institution can take before it breaks.’
      • ‘Imagine you're a newspaper editor - there's only so much that you can say about the acts that will be on.’
      • ‘There's only so much the leader of the free world can do in the event of a crisis.’
      • ‘If people are willing to die in order to kill others, there is only so much that can be done to stop them.’
      • ‘There is only so much advice, persuasion and goodwill a friend can give.’
      • ‘Oh sure I have friends who care, but there is only so much people want to hear about this.’
      • ‘There is only so much space that these towns can dedicate to car parking.’
      • ‘There's only so much enjoyment a film can give me when I feel no sympathy whatsoever for its characters.’
  • so as to do something

    • In order to do something.

      ‘she had put her hair up so as to look older’
      • ‘His plan was to increase the flow of money so as to cure economic stagnation; but of course the result was inflation.’
      • ‘The legislation must be interpreted liberally so as to achieve its objectives.’
      • ‘It is important you attend training regularly so as to compete to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘All the competition will be conducted in daylight hours so as to avoid the need for artificial lighting.’
      • ‘The young woman in question had married her boyfriend so as to be able to join him in Japan.’
      • ‘The nobility hurried to build houses there so as to be at the centre of affairs.’
      • ‘Every time I see it, I have to turn my head quickly so as to avoid becoming embarrassed.’
      • ‘I leaned back in the chair at one point, and she seemed to lean with me, so as to keep pressed up against me.’
      • ‘We'd gone without breakfast so as to enjoy our meal more - and we were starving.’
      • ‘This last couple of days I've been buying lots of computer bits and pieces so as to build this new super computer.’
  • so be it

    • An expression of acceptance or resignation.

      • ‘If someone doesn't like my beliefs and wants to write about them, so be it.’
      • ‘And if the stance of peace protesters like me is seen to be unpatriotic then so be it.’
      • ‘If there are legitimate areas of disagreement, so be it - let the best ideas prevail.’
      • ‘Ben was building that dream for his sons, and if that meant sacrifices on all their parts, then so be it.’
      • ‘If the government has decided that ruling by poll is acceptable, so be it.’
      • ‘If you want to be victimized by those who are willing to abuse free speech so be it.’
      • ‘You have to take what comfort you can get and if it comes in the form of Hot Cross Buns and toasted tea-cakes then so be it.’
      • ‘I know that my views will possibly be contentious, and so be it - they probably are.’
      • ‘Winning is the only thing and if taking a pill will help achieve the ultimate goal, then so be it.’
      • ‘I claim the right to live my life as I see fit, and if that involves an element of risk, then so be it.’
  • so long

    • 1Goodbye till we meet again.

      • ‘When she walked out on the Sugababes as they hit the big time, it looked like so long, Siobhan.’
      • ‘I just want it to be done with, but I don't want to deal with any of the moving or saying so long stuff.’
      • ‘‘So long!’, Catharine waved goodbye to Audrey as the door closed.’
      • ‘So long, Mother. Be expecting a postcard or two in the mail, if you're lucky.’
      farewell, adieu
      View synonyms
    • 2In the meanwhile.

      • ‘She wants me to go right now…mind the shop so long, you hear?’
  • so many (or much)

    • Indicating a particular but unspecified quantity.

      ‘so many hours at such-and-such a speed’
      • ‘Abolishing school fees will only do so much for equality of opportunity.’
      • ‘Even being told by your coach to go spin for so many hours a week is not the insult it sounds.’
  • so much as

    • with negativeEven.

      ‘he sat down without so much as a word to anyone’
      • ‘Remind me to find out the name of that flooring company so I can be sure never to buy so much as a carpet tile from it.’
      • ‘Not so much as a single head pic of a female footballer managed to creep into the sporting briefs.’
      • ‘Since then Bonds has refused to speak so much as a single word to the magazine.’
      • ‘McCann then had the audacity to look up and whip it into the far corner without so much as a second thought.’
      • ‘They actually repulse me so much that I seriously want to vomit if I so much as see one.’
      • ‘Which is more than can be said for the DJ, who made it through the evening without so much as a murmur.’
      • ‘His will left everything to his elder daughter and did not so much as mention Ann.’
      • ‘This recipe is rich and flavoursome, yet you needn't chop so much as an onion to make it.’
      • ‘Neither he nor Bridge had so much as a sniff of international football six months ago.’
      • ‘She had not been ill, if she ever got so much as a sniffle I would take her straight to the doctors.’
      so much as, hardly, barely, scarcely
      View synonyms
  • so much for

    • 1Indicating that one has finished talking about something.

      ‘So much for the melodic line. We now turn our attention to the accompaniment’
    • 2Suggesting that something has not been successful or useful.

      ‘so much for that idea!’
      • ‘As for the article all I can say is so much for the Code Of Responsibility!’
      • ‘The cold and waves were starting to get to me, and I couldn't feel my legs; so much for my lanolin and vaseline mixture.’
      • ‘The area is also riddled with graffiti - mostly badly spelled - so much for all that money spent on education!’
      • ‘Well, so much for the rule where they're not supposed to address each other directly.’
  • so much so that

    • To such an extent that.

      ‘I was fascinated by the company, so much so that I wrote a book about it’
      • ‘My hay fever has been particularly bad this morning, so much so that I had to take a triple dose of my usual antihistamines.’
      • ‘The soup is excellent, so much so that on a recent visit my companion had two bowls.’
      • ‘The town had agreed with her, so much so that nearly everyone he knew had signed the letter.’
      • ‘The bread was tough, so much so that she left a substantial portion.’
      • ‘It's much easier doing this job on a proper bench, so much so that even I can manage it reasonably speedily.’
      • ‘The noodles were starchy and overcooked, so much so that in places they had welded together into a solid lump.’
      • ‘Her quick pace was marked with urgency, so much so that even her escorts had to match her stride.’
      • ‘The helping of fish was extremely generous, so much so that Ann passed some of it to me with almost half the baguette.’
      • ‘It was unexpectedly funny, so much so that I actually wept with laughter at one point.’
      • ‘A sombre mood dominates, so much so that it leaks into the two upbeat tracks.’
  • so to speak (or say)

    • Used to highlight the fact that one is describing something in an unusual or metaphorical way.

      ‘delving into the body's secrets, I looked death in the face, so to speak’
      • ‘He wasn't at the forefront of the mayhem but everybody knew he had a hand in it, so to speak.’
      • ‘But the natives, so to say, are getting restless.’
      • ‘You write for a lot of different publications - do you have to put on a different head, so to speak, for each one?’
      • ‘The rabbit is out of the hat, so to speak, and no government, never mind a mere bookmaking company, can put it back in.’
      • ‘And now they're fighting over their man, so to say.’
      • ‘It is the ultimate capitalist consumer product - a direct line, so to speak, to a captive market.’
      • ‘But in the end we all ended up in the same boat so to speak, achieving but still trying.’
      • ‘The rest remain out of the loop, so to speak, and in all likelihood will continue to do so.’
      • ‘In the old times, women did have equal status, so to say.’
      • ‘But it is only now that they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labour, so to speak.’
      so to speak, in a manner of speaking, in a way, in some way or other, to some extent, so to say
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English swā, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zo and German so.

Pronunciation

so

/səʊ/

Main definitions of so in English

: so1so2

so2

noun

  • variant spelling of soh