1

so

adverb \ ˈsō , especially before an adjective or adverb followed by "that" \
Updated on: 24 Nov 2017

Definition of so

1 a : in a manner or way indicated or suggested
  • do you really think so
often used as a substitute for a preceding clause
  • are you ready? I think so
  • I didn't like it and I told her so
b : in the same manner or way : also
  • worked hard and so did she
c : thus 1
  • for so the Lord said
  • —Isaiah 18:4 (King James Version)
d : then, subsequently
  • and so home and to bed
2 a (1) : to an indicated or suggested extent or degree
  • had never been so happy
used chiefly in negative constructions with a following correlative element introduced by as
  • thought that his share wasn't so big as his brother's
(2) : to the same extent or degree : to such a degree : as 1
b : to a great extent or degree : very, extremely
  • loves her so
c : to a definite but unspecified extent or degree
  • can only do so much in a day
d : most certainly : indeed
  • you did so do it
e informal : most decidedly : surely
  • I so don't believe you
3 : therefore, consequently
  • the witness is biased and so unreliable

Can so be used as an intensive?

The intensive use of so (sense 2b) is widely condemned in college handbooks but is nonetheless standard.
    • why is American television so shallow?
    • —Anthony Lewis
    • the cephalopod eye is an example of a remarkable evolutionary parallel because it is so like the eye of a vertebrate
    • —Sarah F. Robbins
    • the kind of sterile over-ingenuity which afflicts so many academic efforts
    • The Times Literary Supplement (London)
There is no stigma attached to its use in negative contexts and when qualified by a dependent clause.
    • not so long ago
    • was so good in mathematics that he began to consider engineering
    • Current Biography
The denotation in these uses is, of course, slightly different (see sense 2a). Another emphatic use of so (sense 2e) has developed more recently and occurs mostly in informal contexts.


Examples of so in a Sentence

  1. I don't think they can score twice in so short a time.

  2. There has always been an interest in genetic cloning, but never more so than in recent years.

  3. He looked so handsome in his suit.

  4. We are all so excited about the trip.

  5. I'm so happy that you decided to join us for dinner.

  6. I feel so much better after taking that nap.

  7. Thank you so much for your help.

  8. He dislikes her so much that he won't even talk to her.

  9. The test was not so very hard after all.

  10. “He is about so tall,” she said, raising her hand about six feet in the air.

Recent Examples of so from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'so.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of so

Middle English, from Old English swā; akin to Old High German so, Latin sic so, thus, si if, Greek hōs so, thus, Latin suus one's own — more at suicide


2

so

conjunction

Definition of so

1 a : with the result that
  • the acoustics are good, so every note is clear
b : in order that
  • be quiet so he can sleep
2 archaic : provided that
3 a : for that reason : therefore
  • don't want to go, so I won't
b (1) used as an introductory particle
  • so here we are
often to belittle a point under discussion
  • so what?
(2) used interjectionally to indicate awareness of a discovery
  • so, that's who did it
or surprised dissent
so as to
: in order to

Using so as a Conjunction

Although occasionally condemned, use of so to introduce clauses of result (sense 1a) and purpose (sense 1b) is standard. In sense 1b so that is more common in formal contexts than so alone.


Examples of so in a Sentence

  1. We were bored with the movie, so we left.

  2. I don't want to go, so I won't.

  3. There are no more chairs available, so you'll have to stand.

First Known Use of so

before 12th century


3

so

adjective

Definition of so

1 : conforming with actual facts : true
  • said things that were not so
2 : marked by a desired order
  • his books are always just so
3 used to replace a preceding adjective
  • was witty by adult standards and of course doubly so by mine
  • —Sally Kempton

Examples of so in a Sentence

  1. You are saying things that are just not so.

  2. I heard you met the president—is that so?

Recent Examples of so from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'so.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of so

before 12th century


4

so

pronoun

Definition of so

1 : such as has been specified or suggested : the same
  • if you have to file a claim, do so as soon as possible
2 used in the phrase or so to indicate an estimate, approximation, or conjecture
  • stayed a week or so
  • cost $15 or so

First Known Use of so

before 12th century


5

so

noun \ ˈsō \

less common variant of

: the fifth note of the major scale in solfège

6

so

abbreviation

Definition of so

south; southern

SO

abbreviation

Definition of SO

1 seller's option
2 strikeout

SO Defined for English Language Learners

so

adverb

Definition of so for English Language Learners

  • : to a degree that is suggested or stated

  • : to a great degree : very or extremely

  • : without any doubt


so

conjunction

Definition of so for English Language Learners

  • : for that reason : and therefore

  • —used to say the reason for something

  • —used in speech to introduce a statement or question


so

adjective

Definition of so for English Language Learners

  • : agreeing with actual facts


so

pronoun

Definition of so for English Language Learners

  • —used to refer to something that has just been stated or suggested


SO Defined for Kids

1

so

adverb \ ˈsō \

Definition of so for Students

1 : in the way indicated
  • I said I'd go and did so.
2 : in the same way : also
  • They wrote well and so did you.
3 : 1then 2
  • Wash your face and so to bed.
4 : to an indicated extent or way
  • He had never felt so well.
  • Don't be so rude!
5 : to a great degree : very, extremely
  • She loved them so.
6 : to a definite but not specified amount
  • A person can do only so much in a day.
7 : most certainly : indeed
  • You did so say it!
8 : therefore
  • I'm honest and so told the truth.

2

so

conjunction

Definition of so for Students

1 : in order that
  • Be quiet so I can sleep!
2 : and therefore
  • We were hungry, so we ate.

3

so

pronoun \ ˈsō \

Definition of so for Students

1 : the same : that
  • They told me so.
2 : approximately that
  • I'd been there a month or so.

so.

abbreviation

Definition of so. for Students

south


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