Generic People

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

A generic person is the name for a type of person, not a real one. These names are often used to describe different kinds of people.

Famous Couples

Jane and John Doe

The Does have been around since the 1300s and are still going strong. British lawyers used the most common first names of the time—John and Jane—whenever a person's true identity was unknown, when a person wished to remain anonymous, or when the person could be almost anyone. You can find these names today on legal documents, death certificates, and hospital records.

Mr. and Mrs. Buttinski

This couple is always minding other people's business. They interrupt conversation rudely and offer opinions whether or not they are wanted. Mr. and Mrs. Buttinski are not well liked.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones

Whatever you have, the Joneses always have more. They are the envy of their neighbors, who compete with them but can never quite “keep up.”

Mr. and Mrs. X

People like to gossip about this couple, although they are nothing special. In fact, like their neighbors the Does, they are the perfect example of an average couple. Compared to the other generic couples, Mr. and Mrs. X are rather plain.

Just Joe

Joe is one of the many nicknames used when one man greets another. Mac, Jack, Bud, and Buster are others. However, Joe is the most popular, and he has many different personalities.

The Average Joe

These Joes all represent your everyday man-in-the-street: Average Joe, Joe Blow, Joe Bunker, Joe Schmo.

Special Joes

Some Joes aren't just ordinary guys.

  • Joe Bag: This Joe is stingy. He never leaves a tip (known as “bagging the tip” in hotels all over the world).
  • Joe College: This American college man loves fraternities, football games, girls, and, of course, his studies.
  • Joe Cool: This Joe thinks he's a big shot and has everybody else convinced as well. He wears the “right” clothes, goes to the “right” parties, and is usually seen hiding behind an expensive pair of sunglasses.
  • Joe Soap: No one wants to be this Joe, a slow, stupid fellow who is often the object of ridicule.
  • G.I. Joe: This Joe was a symbol of the U.S. Army during World War II. The soldiers relied completely on government issue (G.I.) goods, so they became known as G.I.'s.
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