John Q. Public


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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
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 3 Mar. 2024.

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