Main definitions of so in English

: so1so2

so1

adverb

  • 1[as 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’
    • ‘Everything had happened so fast he barely was able to absorb all the information.’
    • ‘Sometimes we write songs so slowly that we never get around to recording them.’
    • ‘I am not so stupid as to consider myself original.’
    • ‘She, like the rest of the family, had not expected Belinda to be away for so long.’
    • ‘Our politicians have plundered the system for so long, corruption is part of life.’
    • ‘Everyone must have put in so many hours to get it right, so a big thank you to all.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the Internet we had so many hits in the first hour that we were really struggling.’
    • ‘I sang so loud that I'm still hoarse now, almost 24 hours later!’
    1. 1.1 Extremely; very much (used for emphasis):
      ‘she looked so pretty’
      ‘I do love it so’
      • ‘He was so handsome in his dark Sunday suit.’
      • ‘We are so pleased to be hosting this third debate.’
      • ‘When we were interviewing Betsey Wright, I was so grateful to her for trusting us that much.’
      • ‘Their bathroom was so clean!’
      • ‘It never even gets as far as a fight, because my wife is so much more organised than me.’
      • ‘Thank you so much for all the comments, they mean more than you know.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘You so need a cell phone.’
      • ‘That's so not funny.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘‘Oh, it's flat like a coin, but about so big,’ said Erin, gesturing with his hands.’
      • ‘Have you seen a girl, about so high, with long blonde hair?’
  • 2[as 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’
    • ‘No question, Slurpees are the best car drink ever, and they never taste so good as on a roadtrip.’
    • ‘It's not so difficult as it seems.’
    • ‘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:
      ‘‘Has somebody called an ambulance?’ ‘I believe so’’
      ‘if she notices, she never says so’
      • ‘Is there a place for direct marketing? I think so.’
      • ‘The beans were cream-colored, with a yellow hue, or so he said.’
      • ‘Although currently set to be demolished, Ashfield Works could be structurally sound - and if so could be ideal for development.’
      • ‘Perhaps his next stop in Houston will be a better one. Let's hope so!’
      • ‘I watched an episode, saw nothing wrong with it, and said so.’
    2. 3.2 The truth:
      ‘I hear that you're a writer—is that so?’
      • ‘Not all the appeal has been determined, your Honour, that is so, yes.’
      • ‘I think there is an affidavit on the part of your client, is that so, Mr Cooke?’
      • ‘The ostensible reason is that ID checks make us all safer, but that's just not so.’
    3. 3.3 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!’
    4. 3.4 Expressing agreement:
      ‘‘There's another one.’ ‘So there is.’’
      • ‘‘You were there, too.’ ‘So I was.’’
    5. 3.5Irish 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!’
    6. 3.6informal 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I think I've been playing very well, so to say that my heart's not in it is hurtful.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The lawyer said the American was inebriated at the time, so that he had lost control of his actions.’
  • 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. 4.2also so what?informal 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'm a policeman—what's wrong with that?’
    • ‘The truth does hurt, so what's the big deal?’
    • ‘So we've had a bad past - forget about it.’
  • 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’
      • ‘He could go harder and longer than most of the other athletes in long distance training and so forth.’
      • ‘She was convicted simply for tampering with evidence such as erasing phone logs and so on.’
      • ‘For the footballers, it is too much too young, a lack of education and so on.’
      • ‘The company should stress that it uses real chocolate, butter and cream rather than vegetable oils and so on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you believe in freedom of speech, assembly, religion and so forth, why not embrace the free market?’
      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’
      • ‘There's just so much paperwork out there that it's really not a targeted effort.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's just so much interesting information to be found!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's just so much extra clunky junk that the story never quite makes its way through.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Beneath it all, though, the verbal barrage is really just so much wisecracking.’
      • ‘Until then, it will look like just so much smoke and mirrors from the old order of duplicity and double standards.’
  • not so much —— as ——

    • Not —— but rather ——:

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

    • A limited amount:

      ‘there is only so much you can do to protect yourself’
      • ‘There is only so much advice, persuasion and goodwill a friend can give.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Oh sure I have friends who care, but there is only so much people want to hear about this.’
      • ‘There's only so much the leader of the free world can do in the event of a crisis.’
      • ‘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 is only so much space that these towns can dedicate to car parking.’
      • ‘If people are willing to die in order to kill others, there is only so much that can be done to stop them.’
      • ‘There's only so much enjoyment a film can give me when I feel no sympathy whatsoever for its characters.’
  • or so

    • (after a quantity) approximately:

      ‘a dozen or so people’
      • ‘I saw a local reporter for one of the news stations and about a dozen or so protesters.’
      • ‘You could put your feet up, close your eyes and simply enjoy doing nothing for half an hour or so.’
      • ‘The last hour or so is as close to the magic of the original trilogy as you can get in my book.’
      • ‘Every couple of years or so since then money has been handed over for a succession of studies.’
      • ‘Always buy fresh live scallops with closed shells and make sure you use them within a day or so.’
      • ‘I will be away from my computer for the next week or so, and will be taking a break from blogging.’
      • ‘José Luis is in his forties and has a group of a dozen or so mates he has been hanging out with all his life.’
      • ‘Rob failed to get a bite, and after an hour or so, he suggested that we try further upstream.’
      • ‘At our last place I had to take an inch or so off the bottom of a door, as it was sticking on a shaggy new carpet.’
      • ‘You cut them into squares and blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so with onion and garlic.’
      roughly, about, around, just about, round about, or so, or thereabouts, more or less, in the neighbourhood of, in the region of, in the area of, in the vicinity of, of the order of, something like, in round numbers, rounded down, rounded up
      View synonyms
  • so as to do something

    • In order to do something:

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

    • An expression of acceptance or resignation.

      • ‘I know that my views will possibly be contentious, and so be it - they probably are.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you want to be victimized by those who are willing to abuse free speech so be it.’
      • ‘If someone doesn't like my beliefs and wants to write about them, so be it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the government has decided that ruling by poll is acceptable, so be it.’
      • ‘Ben was building that dream for his sons, and if that meant sacrifices on all their parts, then so be it.’
  • so far

    • 1To a certain limited extent:

      ‘jabs and pills can protect you only so far’
      • ‘Aid will go only so far; trade must do the rest.’
      • ‘You can stretch the elastic so far but you will get to the point where it snaps.’
      • ‘In Egypt's classrooms, lessons go only so far. Parents spend $2.4 billion annually to illegally hire private teachers.’
    • 2(of a trend that seems likely to continue) up to this time:

      ‘diplomatic activity so far has failed’
      • ‘He said a public meeting would be held in the town hall next Thursday to discuss the project so far.’
      • ‘Both teams went into the fixture unbeaten so far this season, so something had to give.’
      • ‘Even some of his roses have survived the worst of the weather so far this winter.’
      • ‘Bidders have so far been invited to look into the potential of their sites and submit plans.’
      • ‘It is believed that a small number of sites have so far been contacted, likely in the tens.’
      • ‘The prediction is based on the crimes committed so far in the period under review.’
      • ‘The group has so far raised around half of that amount and is continuing to gain funds.’
      • ‘We have tried to speak to people at Irwell Valley, but so far we have not had that much response.’
      • ‘The arrests brought to four the number of men questioned about the allegations so far.’
      • ‘The basis of this method stuff, so far, is that the performance comes from the inside.’
      • ‘Experience so far suggests that house prices are more likely to stagnate than crash.’
      • ‘She is trying to track family roots and has so far come up against a brick wall.’
      • ‘At eight feet by five feet, the bookcases will be the largest pieces to have appeared so far.’
      • ‘This means that each publication is a gamble, but so far the strategy has paid off.’
      • ‘Interesting how many posts there have been so far with no one saying they saw it.’
      • ‘There have been no murders in the borough so far this year, compared with three last year.’
      • ‘No doubt there will be more flashbacks to come but so far the ones that have surfaced have made me smile.’
      • ‘After graduation he is keen to continue and expand on the work he has done so far.’
      • ‘We have had very positive feedback so far and they do seem to think it is valuable and worthwhile.’
      • ‘This is a strategy that has yielded huge profits so far and can continue to do so.’
      until now, up till now, up to now, up to this point, as yet, thus far, hitherto, up to the present, till the present, until the present, to date, by this time
      View synonyms
  • so far so good

    • Progress has been satisfactory up to now:

      ‘‘How's the job going?’ ‘So far so good.’’
      • ‘Anyways so far so good, Friday the 13th is ok for me today.’
      • ‘Just dropped in to let you know that I'm back, I had a couple of nice safe flights back home, nothing was stolen as far as I can see, no flat tires, all the cars started… so far so good!’
      • ‘All right, the sky dims to violet, then the stars come out - so far so good - and someone on a mike begins the prologue but the mike wasn't hooked up right and squeaked and fed back all through the show.’
      • ‘The operation seems to have gone well and it's a case of so far so good but we will just have to wait and see how he recovers.’
      • ‘Realistically there are some things that are going to go well and some that are going to go wrong - but so far so good.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘‘So long!’, Catharine waved goodbye to Audrey as the door closed.’
      • ‘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, 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 long as

  • so many (or much)

    • Indicating a particular but unspecified quantity:

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

    • [with negative]Even:

      ‘he sat down without so much as a word to anyone’
      • ‘McCann then had the audacity to look up and whip it into the far corner without so much as a second thought.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This recipe is rich and flavoursome, yet you needn't chop so much as an onion to make it.’
      • ‘Since then Bonds has refused to speak so much as a single word to the magazine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They actually repulse me so much that I seriously want to vomit if I so much as see one.’
  • 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!’
      • ‘The area is also riddled with graffiti - mostly badly spelled - so much for all that money spent on education!’
      • ‘As for the article all I can say is so much for the Code Of Responsibility!’
      • ‘Well, so much for the rule where they're not supposed to address each other directly.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘It was unexpectedly funny, so much so that I actually wept with laughter at one point.’
      • ‘It's much easier doing this job on a proper bench, so much so that even I can manage it reasonably speedily.’
      • ‘The town had agreed with her, so much so that nearly everyone he knew had signed the letter.’
      • ‘The helping of fish was extremely generous, so much so that Ann passed some of it to me with almost half the baguette.’
      • ‘The soup is excellent, so much so that on a recent visit my companion had two bowls.’
      • ‘A sombre mood dominates, so much so that it leaks into the two upbeat tracks.’
      • ‘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 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 bread was tough, so much so that she left a substantial portion.’
  • 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’
      • ‘But in the end we all ended up in the same boat so to speak, achieving but still trying.’
      • ‘But it is only now that they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labour, so to speak.’
      • ‘But the natives, so to say, are getting restless.’
      • ‘It is the ultimate capitalist consumer product - a direct line, so to speak, to a captive market.’
      • ‘He wasn't at the forefront of the mayhem but everybody knew he had a hand in it, so to speak.’
      • ‘And now they're fighting over their man, so to say.’
      • ‘You write for a lot of different publications - do you have to put on a different head, so to speak, for each one?’
      • ‘In the old times, women did have equal status, so to say.’
      • ‘The rest remain out of the loop, so to speak, and in all likelihood will continue to do so.’
      • ‘The rabbit is out of the hat, so to speak, and no government, never mind a mere bookmaking company, can put it back in.’
      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