Nearby words

  1. snuggle,
  2. snugly,
  3. snyder,
  4. snyder, gary,
  5. snye,
  6. so as to,
  7. so be it,
  8. so far,
  9. so far as,
  10. so far, so good


Origin of so

before 900; Middle English; Old English swā; cognate with Dutch zoo, German so, Gothic swa

Synonym study

10. See therefore.

Usage note

5. The intensive so meaning “very or extremely” ( Everything's so expensive these days ) occurs chiefly in informal speech. In writing and formal speech, intensive so is most often followed by a completing that clause: Everything is so expensive that some families must struggle just to survive.
19, 20. The conjunction so (often followed by that ) introduces clauses both of purpose ( We ordered our tickets early so that we could get good seats ) and of result ( The river had frozen during the night so people walked across it all the next day ). In formal speech and writing, so that is somewhat more common than so in clauses of purpose. Otherwise, either so or so that is standard.
Like and, but1 , and or, so can occur as a transitional word at the beginning of a sentence: So all our hard work finally brought results. See also as1, and, but1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for so that


abbreviation for

Somalia (international car registration)




(foll by an adjective or adverb and a correlative clause often introduced by that) to such an extentthe river is so dirty that it smells
(used with a negative; it replaces the first as in an equative comparison) to the same extent asshe is not so old as you
(intensifier)it's so lovely; I love you so
in the state or manner expressed or impliedthey're happy and will remain so
(not used with a negative; foll by an auxiliary verb or do, have, or be used as main verbs) also; likewiseI can speak Spanish and so can you
informal indeed: used to contradict a negative statementYou didn't tell the truth. I did so!
archaic provided that
and so on or and so forth and continuing similarly
just so See just (def. 19)
or so approximatelyfifty or so people came to see me
quite so I agree; exactly
so be it used to express agreement or resignation
so much
  1. a certain degree or amount (of)
  2. a lot (of)it's just so much nonsense
so much for
  1. no more can or need be said about
  2. used to express contempt for something that has failedso much for your bright idea

conjunction (subordinating; often foll by that)

in order (that)to die so that you might live
with the consequence (that)he was late home, so that there was trouble
so as (takes an infinitive) in order (to)to slim so as to lose weight

sentence connector

in consequence; henceshe wasn't needed, so she left
used to introduce a sentence expressing resignation, amazement, or sarcasmso you're publishing a book!
thereupon; and thenand so we ended up in France
used to introduce a sentence or clause to add emphasishe's crazy, so he is
so what! informal what importance does that have?


used to substitute for a clause or sentence, which may be understoodyou'll stop because I said so


(used with is, was, etc) factual; trueit can't be so


an exclamation of agreement, surprise, etc

Word Origin for so

Old English swā; related to Old Norse svā, Old High German sō, Dutch zoo


In formal English, so is not used as a conjunction, to indicate either purpose (he left by a back door so he could avoid photographers) or result (the project was abandoned so his services were no longer needed). In the former case to or in order to should be used instead, and in the latter case and so or and therefore would be more acceptable. The expression so therefore should not be used




music a variant spelling of soh



the internet domain name for

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for so that



Old English swa, swæ (adv., conj., pron.) "in this way," also "to that extent; so as, consequently, therefore," and purely intensive; from Proto-Germanic *swa (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Dutch, Old High German so, Old Norse sva, Danish saa, Swedish , Old Frisian sa, Dutch zo, German so "so," Gothic swa "as"), from PIE reflexive pronomial stem *swo- "so" (cf. Greek hos "as," Old Latin suad "so," Latin se "himself"), derivative of *s(w)e-, pronoun of the third person and reflexive (see idiom).

Old English swa frequently was strengthened by eall, and so also is contained in compounds as, also, such. The -w- was eliminated by contraction from 12c.; cf. two, which underwent the same process but retained its spelling. As an "introductory particle" [OED] from 1590s. Used to add emphasis or contradict a negative from 1913. So in mid-20c. British slang could mean "homosexual" (adj.). So? as a term of dismissal is attested from 1886 (short for is that so?, etc.). So what as an exclamation of indifference dates from 1934. So-and-so is from 1596 meaning "something unspecified;" first recorded 1897 as a euphemistic term of abuse. Abbreviating phrase and so on is attested from 1724. So far so good is from 1721.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with so that

so that


In order that, as in I stopped so that you could catch up.


With the result or consequence that, as in Mail the package now so that it will arrive on time.


so ... that. In such a way or to such an extent that, as in The line was so long that I could scarcely find the end of it. All three usages date from a.d. 1000 or earlier, and the first two are sometimes put simply as so, as in I stopped so you could catch up, or Mail it now so it will arrive on time.


In addition to the idioms beginning with so

  • so as to
  • so be it
  • so far
  • so far as
  • so far, so good
  • so help me
  • soil one's hands
  • sold on, be
  • sold out
  • so long
  • so long as
  • so many
  • so much
  • so much as
  • so much for
  • so much the
  • song and dance
  • son of a bitch
  • so that
  • so to speak
  • so what

also see:

  • and so forth (and so on)
  • as (so) far as
  • as (so) far as possible
  • as (so) far as that goes
  • as (so) long as
  • as (so) much as
  • even so
  • every now and then (so often)
  • go so far as to
  • how come (so)
  • in so many words
  • is that a fact (so)
  • I told you so
  • just so
  • never had it so good
  • not (so) bad
  • on one's say-so
  • or so
  • take it (just so much)
  • without so much as
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.