There are 2 main definitions of so in English:

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so1

Line breaks: so
Pronunciation: /səʊ
 
/

adverb

1 [as submodifier] To such a great extent: the words tumbled out so fast that I could barely hear them don’t look so worried I’m not so foolish as to say that
More example sentences
  • She did not know why God kept her here so long but believed that He must have had a purpose.
  • I am not so stupid as to consider myself original.
  • She, like the rest of the family, had not expected Belinda to be away for so long.
1.1Extremely; very much (used for emphasis): she looked so pretty I do love it so
More example sentences
  • I wanted to like the movie if only because the critics hated it so, but I couldn't deny the unmistakable truth that it was not very good.
  • Their bathroom was so clean!
  • He was so handsome in his dark Sunday suit.
1.2 informal Used to emphasize a clause or negative statement: that’s so not fair you are so going to regret this
More example sentences
  • That's so not funny.
  • I'm so not a party person, which is why I escape here.
  • We're so going to be late!
1.3 informal Used with a gesture to indicate size: the bird was about so long
More example sentences
  • Have you seen a girl, about so high, with long blonde hair?
  • ‘Oh, it's flat like a coin, but about so big,’ said Erin, gesturing with his hands.
2 [as submodifier, with negative] To the same extent (used in comparisons): he isn’t so bad as you’d think help without which he would not have done so well
More example sentences
  • It's not so difficult as it seems.
  • I feel fine, at least not so tired as I felt before.
  • This did not prove so easy as he had hoped.
3Referring back to something previously mentioned:
3.1That is the case: ‘Has somebody called an ambulance?’ ‘I believe so’ if she notices, she never says so
More example sentences
  • Perhaps his next stop in Houston will be a better one. Let's hope so!
  • Is there a place for direct marketing? I think so.
  • I watched an episode, saw nothing wrong with it, and said so.
3.2The truth: I hear that you’re a writer—is that so?
More example sentences
  • I think there is an affidavit on the part of your client, is that so, Mr Cooke?
  • The ostensible reason is that ID checks make us all safer, but that's just not so.
  • Not all the appeal has been determined, your Honour, that is so, yes.
3.3Similarly; and also: times have changed and so have I
More example sentences
  • New Zealand know they are going to get a lot better: they made mistakes, and so did we.
  • I went from an unfit person to a fit person and so can you!
3.4Expressing agreement: ‘There’s another one.’ ‘So there is.’
More example sentences
  • ‘You were there, too.’ ‘So I was.’
3.5Irish Used for emphasis in a formula added at the end of a statement: your old man was the salt of the earth, so he was
More example sentences
  • He left us down, so he did!
  • She was a lovely girl, so she was.
3.6 informal Used to emphatically contradict a negative statement: it is so!
More example sentences
  • ‘You're not Icelandic.’ ‘I am so.’
4In the way described or demonstrated; thus: hold your arms so so it was that he was still a bachelor
More example sentences
  • And so it was that Mark ended up taking us home in his old pick-up truck at about 10:30.

conjunction

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1And for this reason; therefore: it was still painful so I went to see a specialist you know I’m telling the truth, so don’t interrupt
More example sentences
  • There is very little between teams now they are all champions, so to say that any team should be outstanding favourites is not realistic.
  • By the time we bought our tickets it was almost 5:30 so we hurried back to the hotel.
  • I think I've been playing very well, so to say that my heart's not in it is hurtful.
1.1 (so that) With the result that: it was overgrown with brambles, so that I had difficulty making any progress
More example sentences
  • When it was translated it usually meant no more to her than it did in English, so that she did not know what to reply.
  • The lawyer said the American was inebriated at the time, so that he had lost control of his actions.
2 (so that) With the aim that; in order that: they whisper to each other so that no one else can hear
More example sentences
  • We know from her letters that Frances destroyed the original, so that it would not injure her husband's reputation.
  • She picks up the newspaper and holds it up so that she can't see me.
  • Janelle said that she will take all of the kids out so that we can have a romantic night in.
3And then; as the next step: and so to the final
More example sentences
  • And so to the afternoon's entertainments.
4Introducing a question: so, what did you do today?
More example sentences
  • So, how are you, Mona?
  • So, when's the next game?
4.1Introducing a question following on from what was said previously: so what did he do about it?
More example sentences
  • If you plan to rely solely on the government when times are hard, you run the risk of repossession. So, what are the alternatives?
4.2 (also so what?) informal Why should that be considered significant? ‘He came into the shop this morning.’ ‘So?’ so what if he failed?
More example sentences
  • The film's heart is undoubtedly in the right place, but so what?
  • ‘He's an estate agent.’ ‘So?’
5Introducing a statement which is followed by a defensive comment: so I’m a policeman—what’s wrong with that?
More example sentences
  • So we've had a bad past - forget about it.
  • The truth does hurt, so what's the big deal?
6Introducing a concluding statement: so that’s that
More example sentences
  • But I've got a very busy day lined up, so that's all for now.
  • OK, so that's enough talk from me about that.
7In the same way; correspondingly: just as bad money drives out good, so does bad art drive out the good
More example sentences
  • As the weather's been getting more heated, so has she.
  • If you start out sensibly, improving your performance, you'll find that just as a muscle strengthens, so will your willpower.

Origin

Old English swā, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zo and German so.

Phrases

and so on (or forth)

1
And similar things; et cetera: these savouries include cheeses, cold meats, and so on
More example sentences
  • This region used to be the bedrock of conflicts and cold War politics and so forth.
  • The company should stress that it uses real chocolate, butter and cream rather than vegetable oils and so on.
  • Also, be aware that sugar might be described as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose and so on.

just so much

2
chiefly derogatory Emphasizing a large amount of something: it’s just so much ideological cant
More example sentences
  • There's just so much extra clunky junk that the story never quite makes its way through.
  • There's just so much paperwork out there that it's really not a targeted effort.
  • Beneath it all, though, the verbal barrage is really just so much wisecracking.

not so much —— as ——

3
Not —— but rather ——: the novel was not so much unfinished as unfinishable
More example sentences
  • Their reasoning is not so much theological as magical.
  • Bobby Gillespie at 40 is not so much middle-aged as never-aged.
  • The hysteria was not so much instantaneous as ready-made.

only so much

4
A limited amount: there is only so much you can do to protect yourself
More example sentences
  • The council can do only so much - it has limited staff and cleaning up careless waste costs money.
  • If people are willing to die in order to kill others, there is only so much that can be done to stop them.
  • However, there is only so much that can be achieved through coaching alone.

or so

5
see or1.

so as to do something

6
In order to do something: she had put her hair up so as to look older
More example sentences
  • His plan was to increase the flow of money so as to cure economic stagnation; but of course the result was inflation.
  • Every time I see it, I have to turn my head quickly so as to avoid becoming embarrassed.
  • I leaned back in the chair at one point, and she seemed to lean with me, so as to keep pressed up against me.

so be it

7
An expression of acceptance or resignation.
Example sentences
  • If the government has decided that ruling by poll is acceptable, so be it.
  • If there are legitimate areas of disagreement, so be it - let the best ideas prevail.
  • If someone doesn't like my beliefs and wants to write about them, so be it.

so far

8
see far.

so far so good

9
see far.

so long

10
1 informal Goodbye till we meet again.
Example sentences
  • When she walked out on the Sugababes as they hit the big time, it looked like so long, Siobhan.
  • I just want it to be done with, but I don't want to deal with any of the moving or saying so long stuff.
  • ‘So long!’, Catharine waved goodbye to Audrey as the door closed.
2South African In the meanwhile.
[translation of Afrikaans solank]
Example sentences
  • She wants me to go right now…mind the shop so long, you hear?

so long as

11
see long1.

so many (or much)

12
Indicating a particular but unspecified quantity: so many hours at such-and-such a speed
More example sentences
  • Even being told by your coach to go spin for so many hours a week is not the insult it sounds.
  • Abolishing school fees will only do so much for equality of opportunity.

so much as

13
[with negative] Even: he sat down without so much as a word to anyone
More example sentences
  • Which is more than can be said for the DJ, who made it through the evening without so much as a murmur.
  • McCann then had the audacity to look up and whip it into the far corner without so much as a second thought.
  • Since then Bonds has refused to speak so much as a single word to the magazine.

so much for

14
1Indicating that one has finished talking about something: So much for the melodic line. We now turn our attention to the accompaniment
2Suggesting that something has not been successful or useful: so much for that idea!
More example sentences
  • The area is also riddled with graffiti - mostly badly spelled - so much for all that money spent on education!
  • As for the article all I can say is so much for the Code Of Responsibility!
  • Well, so much for the rule where they're not supposed to address each other directly.

so much so that

15
To such an extent that: I was fascinated by the company, so much so that I wrote a book about it
More example sentences
  • It's much easier doing this job on a proper bench, so much so that even I can manage it reasonably speedily.
  • The noodles were starchy and overcooked, so much so that in places they had welded together into a solid lump.
  • The soup is excellent, so much so that on a recent visit my companion had two bowls.

so to speak (or say)

16
Used to highlight the fact that one is describing something in an unusual or metaphorical way: delving into the body’s secrets, I looked death in the face, so to speak
More example sentences
  • It is the ultimate capitalist consumer product - a direct line, so to speak, to a captive market.
  • You write for a lot of different publications - do you have to put on a different head, so to speak, for each one?
  • The rabbit is out of the hat, so to speak, and no government, never mind a mere bookmaking company, can put it back in.

Definition of so in:

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