Main definitions of so in English

: so1so2



  • 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’
    • ‘I sang so loud that I'm still hoarse now, almost 24 hours later!’
    • ‘She, like the rest of the family, had not expected Belinda to be away for so long.’
    • ‘Everything had happened so fast he barely was able to absorb all the information.’
    • ‘Our politicians have plundered the system for so long, corruption is part of life.’
    • ‘Sometimes we write songs so slowly that we never get around to recording them.’
    • ‘On the Internet we had so many hits in the first hour that we were really struggling.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I am not so stupid as to consider myself original.’
    • ‘She did not know why God kept her here so long but believed that He must have had a purpose.’
    1. 1.1Extremely; very much (used for emphasis)
      ‘she looked so pretty’
      ‘I do love it so’
      • ‘Their bathroom was so clean!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thank you so much for all the comments, they mean more than you know.’
      • ‘He was so handsome in his dark Sunday suit.’
      • ‘We are so pleased to be hosting this third debate.’
      • ‘It never even gets as far as a fight, because my wife is so much more organised than me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm so not a party person, which is why I escape here.’
      • ‘That's so not funny.’
      • ‘We're so going to be late!’
    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.’
  • 2[as submodifier with negative] To the same extent (used in comparisons)

    ‘he isn't so bad as you'd think’
    ‘without his parents’ support, 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.’
    • ‘I feel fine, at least not so tired as I felt before.’
    • ‘This did not prove so easy as he had hoped.’
    • ‘It's not so difficult as it seems.’
  • 3Referring back to something previously mentioned.

    1. 3.1That is the case.
      ‘“Is it going to rain?” “I think so.”’
      ‘if she notices, she never says so’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Is there a place for direct marketing? I think so.’
      • ‘I watched an episode, saw nothing wrong with it, and said so.’
      • ‘The beans were cream-colored, with a yellow hue, or so he said.’
    2. 3.2The truth.
      ‘I hear that you're a writer—is that so?’
      • ‘The ostensible reason is that ID checks make us all safer, but that's just not 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?’
    3. 3.3Similarly; and also.
      ‘times have changed and so have I’
      • ‘I went from an unfit person to a fit person and so can you!’
      • ‘New Zealand know they are going to get a lot better: they made mistakes, and so did we.’
    4. 3.4Expressing agreement.
      ‘“It's cold in here.” “So it is.”’
      • ‘‘You were there, too.’ ‘So I was.’’
    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.’
    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
    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
    View synonyms


  • 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’
    • ‘By the time we bought our tickets it was almost 5:30 so we hurried back to the hotel.’
    • ‘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 have to move my cattle over to somewhere else, requiring me to lease property, so I want money for that.’
    • ‘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.’
    accurate, correct, verifiable, faithful, literal, veracious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1With 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.’
  • 2With the aim that; in order that.

    ‘they whisper to each other so that no one else can hear’
    • ‘She picks up the newspaper and holds it up so that she can't see me.’
    • ‘Janelle said that she will take all of the kids out so that we can have a romantic night in.’
    • ‘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 finals’
    • ‘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. 4.1Introducing 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?
      ‘“Marv is wearing a suit.” “So?”’
      ‘so what if he failed?’
      • ‘The film's heart is undoubtedly in the right place, but so what?’
      • ‘‘He's an estate agent.’ ‘So?’’
  • 5Introducing a statement that is followed by a defensive comment.

    ‘so I like anchovies—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’
    • ‘If you start out sensibly, improving your performance, you'll find that just as a muscle strengthens, so will your willpower.’
    • ‘As the weather's been getting more heated, so has she.’


  • and so on (or forth)

    • And similar things; et cetera.

      ‘these snacks include cheeses, cold meats, 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.’
      • ‘The company should stress that it uses real chocolate, butter and cream rather than vegetable oils 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was convicted simply for tampering with evidence such as erasing phone logs and so on.’
      • ‘This region used to be the bedrock of conflicts and cold War politics and so forth.’
      • ‘We are often too anxious to have it all and have it now, so some become white collar criminals and so on.’
      • ‘He could go harder and longer than most of the other athletes in long distance training 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’
      • ‘But is it an agenda to save the planet, or just so much hot air?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Outside such parameters, it's just so much speculation, no matter how poetically put.’
      • ‘There's just so much paperwork out there that it's really not a targeted effort.’
      • ‘Until then, it will look like just so much smoke and mirrors from the old order of duplicity and double standards.’
      • ‘There's just so much interesting information to be found!’
      • ‘Natural History programmes are just so much noise these days.’
      • ‘Bollywood was for the masses, its excrescences like posters and billboards and lobby cards just so much kitsch.’
      • ‘Beneath it all, though, the verbal barrage is really just so much wisecracking.’
      • ‘There's just so much extra clunky junk that the story never quite makes its way through.’
  • not so much —— as ——

    • Not —— but rather ——

      ‘the novel was not so much unfinished as unfinishable’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bobby Gillespie at 40 is not so much middle-aged as never-aged.’
      • ‘The hysteria was not so much instantaneous as ready-made.’
      • ‘She is not so much cautious as thoughtful and reasoned: extremely useful qualities for new organisations in uncertain waters.’
      • ‘What's different now, though, is that feminism appears not so much dead as obsolete.’
  • only so much

    • A limited amount.

      ‘there is only so much you can do to protect yourself’
      • ‘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 advice, persuasion and goodwill a friend can give.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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's only so much enjoyment a film can give me when I feel no sympathy whatsoever for its characters.’
      • ‘There is only so much battering, criticism and friendlessness any institution can take before it breaks.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘I will be away from my computer for the next week or so, and will be taking a break from blogging.’
      • ‘Rob failed to get a bite, and after an hour or so, he suggested that we try further upstream.’
      • ‘Always buy fresh live scallops with closed shells and make sure you use them within a day or so.’
      • ‘You could put your feet up, close your eyes and simply enjoy doing nothing for half an hour or so.’
      • ‘You cut them into squares and blanch them in boiling water for a minute or so with onion and garlic.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘I leaned back in the chair at one point, and she seemed to lean with me, so as to keep pressed up against me.’
      • ‘The young woman in question had married her boyfriend so as to be able to join him in Japan.’
      • ‘All the competition will be conducted in daylight hours so as to avoid the need for artificial lighting.’
      • ‘It is important you attend training regularly so as to compete to the best of your ability.’
      • ‘His plan was to increase the flow of money so as to cure economic stagnation; but of course the result was inflation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every time I see it, I have to turn my head quickly so as to avoid becoming embarrassed.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘If the government has decided that ruling by poll is acceptable, 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.’
      • ‘Winning is the only thing and if taking a pill will help achieve the ultimate goal, then so be it.’
      • ‘And if the stance of peace protesters like me is seen to be unpatriotic then so be it.’
      • ‘If you want to be victimized by those who are willing to abuse free speech so be it.’
      • ‘If there are legitimate areas of disagreement, so be it - let the best ideas prevail.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ben was building that dream for his sons, and if that meant sacrifices on all their parts, then so be it.’
      • ‘If someone doesn't like my beliefs and wants to write about them, so be it.’
  • so far

    • 1To a certain limited extent.

      ‘the commitment to free trade goes 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.

      ‘we've only had one honest man so far’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both teams went into the fixture unbeaten so far this season, so something had to give.’
      • ‘There have been no murders in the borough so far this year, compared with three last year.’
      • ‘This is a strategy that has yielded huge profits so far and can continue to do so.’
      • ‘The arrests brought to four the number of men questioned about the allegations so far.’
      • ‘We have tried to speak to people at Irwell Valley, but so far we have not had that much response.’
      • ‘The group has so far raised around half of that amount and is continuing to gain funds.’
      • ‘She is trying to track family roots and has so far come up against a brick wall.’
      • ‘We have had very positive feedback so far and they do seem to think it is valuable and worthwhile.’
      • ‘This means that each publication is a gamble, but so far the strategy has paid off.’
      • ‘At eight feet by five feet, the bookcases will be the largest pieces to have appeared so far.’
      • ‘Experience so far suggests that house prices are more likely to stagnate than crash.’
      • ‘He said a public meeting would be held in the town hall next Thursday to discuss the project so far.’
      • ‘Interesting how many posts there have been so far with no one saying they saw it.’
      • ‘It is believed that a small number of sites have so far been contacted, likely in the tens.’
      • ‘The basis of this method stuff, so far, is that the performance comes from the inside.’
      • ‘The prediction is based on the crimes committed so far in the period under review.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.”’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Realistically there are some things that are going to go well and some that are going to go wrong - but 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.’
      • ‘Anyways so far so good, Friday the 13th is ok for me today.’
  • so long!

    • informal Goodbye until we meet again.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When she walked out on the Sugababes as they hit the big time, it looked like so long, Siobhan.’
      farewell, adieu
      View synonyms
  • 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’
      • ‘Which is more than can be said for the DJ, who made it through the evening without so much as a murmur.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Not so much as a single head pic of a female footballer managed to creep into the sporting briefs.’
      • ‘She had not been ill, if she ever got so much as a sniffle I would take her straight to the doctors.’
      • ‘Neither he nor Bridge had so much as a sniff of international football six months ago.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This recipe is rich and flavoursome, yet you needn't chop so much as an onion to make it.’
  • 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 cold and waves were starting to get to me, and I couldn't feel my legs; so much for my lanolin and vaseline mixture.’
      • ‘Well, so much for the rule where they're not supposed to address each other directly.’
      • ‘As for the article all I can say is so much for the Code Of Responsibility!’
      • ‘The area is also riddled with graffiti - mostly badly spelled - so much for all that money spent on education!’
  • 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’
      • ‘The noodles were starchy and overcooked, so much so that in places they had welded together into a solid lump.’
      • ‘The soup is excellent, so much so that on a recent visit my companion had two bowls.’
      • ‘It's much easier doing this job on a proper bench, so much so that even I can manage it reasonably speedily.’
      • ‘It was unexpectedly funny, so much so that I actually wept with laughter at one point.’
      • ‘The bread was tough, so much so that she left a substantial portion.’
      • ‘A sombre mood dominates, so much so that it leaks into the two upbeat tracks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The town had agreed with her, so much so that nearly everyone he knew had signed the letter.’
      • ‘My hay fever has been particularly bad this morning, so much so that I had to take a triple dose of my usual antihistamines.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But it is only now that they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labour, so to speak.’
      • ‘You write for a lot of different publications - do you have to put on a different head, so to speak, for each one?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But in the end we all ended up in the same boat so to speak, achieving but still trying.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the old times, women did have equal status, so to say.’
      so to speak, in a manner of speaking, in a way, in some way or other, to some extent, so to say
      View synonyms


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




Main definitions of so in English

: so1so2



  • alternate spelling of sol