Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: swa

so

1 adverb
     
so1 S1 W1
1
a) [+adjective/adverb] used to emphasize how great a feeling or quality is, or how large an amount is:
It was so embarrassing!
Why didn't you call? We were so worried.
I've never seen so many people here before!
ever so British English
They're being ever so quiet.
b) [+adjective/adverb] used when emphasizing the degree or amount of something by saying what the result is
so ... (that)
He was so weak that he could hardly stand up.
There was so much smoke that they couldn't see across the hallway.
Everything happened so quickly I hadn't time to think.
so ... as to be
The particles are so small as to be almost invisible.
c) spoken old-fashioned used before or after a verb to emphasize that someone does something a lot or to a great degree:
I wish you wouldn't fuss so (=as much as you do). It makes me nervous.
He does so enjoy reading your letters.
d) spoken informal used before a noun phrase to emphasize what you are saying - used especially by young people:
He is just so not the right person for her.
2

not so big/good/bad etc

not very big, good etc:
I'm afraid the news is not so good.
Of course I'd like to help, but things aren't so simple.
3 [not used with negative verbs] used to add that what has just been said is also true about someone or something else
so do I/so is he/so would Peter etc
Joe was a little upset, and so was I.
He's been ill, and so has his wife.
As the demand rises, so do prices.
4 used to refer back to an idea, action, quality, situation etc that has just been mentioned
hope so/think so/say so etc
'Will I need my umbrella?' 'I don't think so.'
If you want to go home, just say so.
be more so/less so/too much so
The band is popular and likely to become more so.
Jerry is very honest, perhaps too much so.
The troops will not advance until ordered to do so.
Did Luke sell them? And, if so, what happened to the money?
'Has he lost a fortune?' ' So they say.'
'Look - I've even cleaned the windows.' ' So I see.'
Parents can withdraw their child from school if they so wish.
5

be so

to be true or correct:
'It belongs to my father.' ' Is that so?'
Morton says his parents kicked him out, but his brothers say this isn't so.
6

... or so

used when you cannot be exact about a number, amount, or period of time and you think it may be a little more than the figure you are mentioning:
We have to leave in five minutes or so.
I stopped reading after thirty or so pages.
7 spoken used to get someone's attention, especially in order to ask them a question:
So, how was school today?
8 spoken used to check that you have understood something:
So this is just a copy?
9 spoken used when asking a question about what has just been said:
'He's going to Paris on business.' 'So when is he coming back?'
10

be not so much ... as ...

used to say that one description of someone or something is less suitable or correct than another:
The details are not so much wrong as they are incomplete.
11

not/without so much as something

used when you are surprised or annoyed that someone did not do something:
He left without so much as a goodbye.
12

so long!

American English spoken used to say goodbye
13

not so ... as ...

formal used in comparisons to say that something or someone has less of a particular quality than another person or thing:
The bed was not so comfortable as his own.
14

so much for somebody/something

spoken used to say that a particular action, idea, statement etc was not useful or did not produce the result that was hoped for:
He's late again. So much for good intentions!
15

only so many/much

used to say that there is only a limited quantity of something:
There's only so much that anybody's brain can handle at any one time.
There are only so many hours in the working day.
16 spoken used with a movement of your hand to show how big, high etc something or someone is:
Oh, he's about so tall, with brown hair and eyes.
17 spoken used to show that you have found something out about someone:
So! You've got a new girlfriend?
18

so great a man/so small a part etc

formal used to emphasize an adjective, especially when what is being mentioned is surprising or unusual:
He had never spoken to so large a crowd before.
It was amazing how much they accomplished in so short a time.
19

like so

spoken used when you are showing someone how to do something:
Then turn the paper over and fold it, like so.
20

and so on/forth

used at the end of a list to show that you could continue it in a similar way:
You can do things for your health in the way of diet, exercise, good lifestyle, not smoking and so on.
21 literary or formal in the way that is described:
Dorothy and Sarah continued to write to each other, and so began a life-long friendship.
so ... that
The furniture is so arranged that the interviewee and the interviewer are not physically separated by a desk.
22

and so

and therefore:
Madeira has an ideal climate, and so it is not surprising that it has become a tourist paradise.
This was considered to be a religious issue and so to be a matter for the church courts.
23

so she is/so there are etc

spoken especially British English used to show that you agree with something that has just been mentioned, especially something that you had not noticed or had forgotten:
'Look, she's wearing a hat just like yours.' 'So she is.'
24

be just/exactly so

to be arranged tidily, with everything in the right place:
Everything had to be just so, or Edna would make us do it again.
25

so be it

spoken used to show you do not like or agree with something, but you will accept it:
If that means delaying the trip, so be it.
26 spoken
a) used to say that a person's behaviour or action is typical of that person:
'He was about half an hour late.' 'That is just so Chris.'
b) used to say that something suits someone or is the type of thing they like:
You must buy that jacket - it's so you!
27

I do so/it is so etc

American English spoken used especially by children to say that something is true, can be done etc when someone else says that it is not, cannot etc:
'You can't swim.' 'I can so.'
so-so

; ➔ even so

at even1 (4)

; ➔ so far

at far1 (7)

; ➔ so far as I'm concerned

at far1 (14)

; ➔ so far as something is concerned

at far1 (15)

; ➔ so far as I know/I can remember/I can tell etc

at far1 (16)

; ➔ as/so long as

at long2 (5)

; ➔ so much the better

at better3 (4)

; ➔ so to speak

at speak (6)

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