Definition of “so” - English Dictionary

“so” in British English

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soadverb

uk /səʊ/ us /soʊ/

so adverb (VERY)

A2 very, extremely, or to such a degree:

The house is so beautiful.
Thank you for being so patient.
Don't be so stupid!
I didn't know she had so many children!
You can only do so much to help (= there is a limit to how much you can help).
UK informal She's ever so kind and nice.
I'm so tired (that) I could sleep in this chair!
I'm not so desperate as to agree to that.
The word itself is so rare as to be almost obsolete.

not standard used before a noun or before "not" to emphasize what is being said:

Don't wear that - it's so last year (= it was fashionable last year but not now).
I'm sorry, but she is so not a size 10 (= she is very much larger than a size 10).

used at the end of a sentence to mean to a very great degree:

Is that why you hate him so?
You worry so!

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so adverb (SAME WAY)

B1 used usually before the verbs "have", "be", or "do", and other auxiliary verbs to express the meaning "in the same way" or "in a similar way":

"I've got an enormous amount of work to do." "So have I."
"I'm allergic to nuts." "So is my brother."
Neil left just after midnight and so did Roz.
Just as you like to have a night out with the lads, so I like to go out with the girls now and again.

More examples

  • "We went on Saturday." "So did we."
  • "I'm fed up with him." "So am I."
  • "I've really put on weight." "So have I."
  • "I'd like to go skiing." "So would I."
  • "We're going to France this summer." "So are we."

so adverb (MENTIONED EARLIER)

A2 used to avoid repeating a phrase mentioned earlier:

"I hope they stay together." "I hope so too."
"Do you think he's upset?" "I don't think so."
James is coming tonight, or so he said.

B2 used to say that a situation mentioned earlier is correct or true:

"Is it true that we're not getting a pay increase this year?" "I'm afraid so."
"Anthony and Mia don't get along very well." "Is that so?"
"The forecast says it might rain." "If so, we'll have the party inside."

used to say that a fact that has just been stated is certainly true:

"My eyes are slightly different colours." "So they are."
"That's her brother - he looks like James Dean." "So he does."

used instead of repeating an adjective that has already been mentioned:

She's reasonable to work with - more so than I was led to believe.
He's fairly bright - well, certainly more so than his brother.

US child's word used, especially by children, to argue against a negative statement:

"You didn't even see the movie." "I did so!"
to do so

C1 to act in the way mentioned:

Parents must take responsibility for their children. Failure to do so could mean a fine or a jail sentence.

More examples

  • "Will Charles be there?" "I think so."
  • "Is Lucy coming?" "I hope so."
  • "Are they leaving Manchester?" "I believe so."
  • Alice works there - or so I was told.
  • Oliver was furious - or so Tilly told me.

so adverb (IN THIS WAY)

in this way, or like this:

The pillars, which are outside the building, are so placed in order to provide the maximum space inside.
I've so arranged my trip that I'll be home on Friday night.

used when you are showing how something is done:

Just fold this piece of paper back, so, and make a crease here.
Gently fold in the eggs like so.

used when you are representing the size of something:

"How tall is he next to you?" "Oh, about so big," she said, indicating the level of her neck.
"The table that I liked best was about so wide," she said, holding her arms out a metre and a half.

soconjunction

uk /səʊ/ us /soʊ/

so conjunction (SENTENCE BEGINNING)

A2 used at the beginning of a sentence to connect it with something that has been said or has happened previously:

So, there I was standing at the edge of the road with only my underwear on ...
So, just to finish what I was saying earlier...

A2 used as a way of making certain that you or someone else understand something correctly, often when you are repeating the important points of a plan:

So we leave on the Thursday and get back the next Tuesday, is that right?

A2 used to refer to a discovery that you have just made:

So that's what he does when I'm not around!

A2 used as a short pause, sometimes to emphasize what you are saying:

So, here we are again - just you and me.

A2 used before you introduce a subject of conversation that is of present interest, especially when you are asking a question:

So, who do you think is going to win the election?

informal used to show that you agree with something that someone has just said, but you do not think that it is important:

So the car's expensive - well, I can afford it.

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Idiom(s)

soconjunction, adverb

uk /səʊ/ us /soʊ/

B1 used before you give an explanation for the action that you have just mentioned:

[ + (that) ] I deliberately didn't have lunch so (that) I would be hungry tonight.
Leave the keys out so (that) I remember to take them with me.
so as to

B2 in order to:

I always keep fruit in the fridge so as to keep flies off it.
so as not to

C1 in order not to:

He did not switch on the light so as not to disturb her.

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soadjective

uk /səʊ/ us /soʊ/

sonoun [ S ]

uk /səʊ/ us /soʊ/

(Definition of “so” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“so” in American English

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so adverb [ not gradable ] (TO SUCH A DEGREE)

to such a great degree; very:

He’s so stupid he’d believe anything you tell him.
Our families live so far away.

so adverb [ not gradable ] (SIMILARLY)

(used usually before the verbs have, be, do, and other auxiliary verbs) in the same way; similarly:

He was interested, and so were a lot of other people.

so adverb [ not gradable ] (TRUE)

true, or truly:

He thinks I’m out to get him, but that simply isn’t so.

so adverb [ not gradable ] (IN THIS WAY)

more or less like this or in this way:

Grandpa could be generous when he so desired.

So is also used to suggest the approximate size of someone or something:

The box is about so big.

soadjective, adverb [ not gradable ]

us /soʊ/

so adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (IT IS THE SITUATION)

(used instead of repeating something that has just been mentioned) it is the situation:

"I hope our paths cross again." "I hope so too."

soconjunction

us /soʊ/

so conjunction (THEREFORE)

and for that reason; therefore:

so conjunction (IN ORDER THAT)

in order that, or with the result that:

They moved so they could be closer to her family.

So.adjective, noun [ U ]

abbreviation forsouth or southern

(Definition of “so” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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