called or designated thus: the so-called Southern bloc.
incorrectly called or styled thus: so-called intellectuals.

Origin of so-called

First recorded in 1650–60 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for so-called

Contemporary Examples of so-called

Historical Examples of so-called

  • But the most curious monument at Autun is the so-called Pierre de Couhard.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • "That's the worst lot of so-called askaris I ever saw," he remarked.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Son-in-law and father-in-law; B., a so-called dvanda compound.



  • It forms the preface to an American edition of my so-called Fairy Tales.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • I was smart enough to fool all the so-called brains of the Solar System.

    Irresistible Weapon

    Horace Brown Fyfe

British Dictionary definitions for so-called



  1. (prenominal)designated or styled by the name or word mentioned, esp (in the speaker's opinion) incorrectlya so-called genius
  2. (also used parenthetically after a noun)these experts, so-called, are no help
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-called

1650s, from so + past participle of call (v.). As a "sneer word" (1980, Safire, who lumps it with self-proclaimed, would-be, and purported), from 1837.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper