John Q. Public

variants: or less commonly John Q. or John Q. Citizen

Definition of John Q. Public

1 : a member of the public or the community : person, citizen just another John Q. Citizen on the roadSpringfield (Massachusetts) Union
2 : the public or the community personified Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public suffered no great deprivationsDomestic Commerce

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First Known Use of John Q. Public

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for John Q. Public

from the name John + the initial Q. + public or citizen

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Time Traveler for John Q. Public

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The first known use of John Q. Public was in 1937

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Cite this Entry

“John Q. Public.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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