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1. A phrase used to emphasize that a name or term for someone or something is commonly used. Next, we'll be reading the so-called master of English literature, William Shakespeare.
2. A phrase used to indicate the speaker's doubt about the appropriateness of the term being used to describe a person or thing. Oh, now my so-called best friend calls me. Where was she three weeks ago when I was in the hospital? My so-called smartphone has suddenly lost all ability to send a text.