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A man whose identity is unknown or being protected, as in legal proceedings. The victim is a John Doe—the paramedics didn't find any identification on him. The case was brought by a John Doe, so we don't know the true identity of the man suing us.
1. Also, John Q. Public; Joe Blow; Joe Doakes; Joe Zilch. An average undistinguished man; also, the average citizen. For example, This television show is just right for a John Doe, or It's up to John Q. Public to go to the polls and vote. Originally used from the 13th century on legal documents as an alias to protect a witness, John Doe acquired the sense of "ordinary person" in the 1800s. The variants date from the 1900s. Also see Joe six-pack.
2. Also, Jane Doe. An unknown individual, as in The police found a John Doe lying on the street last night, or The judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the perpetrators, Jane Doe no. 1 and Jane Doe no. 2 . [Second half of 1900s]
John Doeand Jane Doe (ˈdʒɑn ˈdo)
n. a name used for a person whose real name is unknown. The tag on the corpse said Jane Doe, since no one had identified her. John Doe was the name at the bottom of the check.