fred: n.

1. The personal name most frequently used as a metasyntactic variable (see foo). Allegedly popular because it's easy for a non-touch-typist to type on a standard QWERTY keyboard. In Great Britain, ‘fred’, ‘jim’ and ‘sheila’ are common metasyntactic variables because their uppercase versions were official names given to the 3 memory areas that held I/O status registers on the lovingly-remembered BBC Microcomputer! (It is reported that SHEILA was poked the most often.) Unlike J. Random Hacker or J. Random Loser, the name ‘fred’ has no positive or negative loading (but see Dr. Fred Mbogo). See also barney.

2. An acronym for ‘Flipping Ridiculous Electronic Device’; other F-verbs may be substituted for ‘flipping’.