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11 Versions of 'Average Joe' From Other Countries

In the US, we call a typical everyman an 'average joe.' Do other cultures have different ways of referring to someone who's just an average, everyday guy?

By
Arika Okrent, Mental Floss
1-minute read

Average Joe, Joe Schmo, John Doe. He’s bland and average. Faceless, but not nameless. Every country needs a way to talk about just “some guy.” Here’s what 11 countries call that typical guy, who might have no specific qualities, but is still “one of our own.”

1. GERMANY: OTTO NORMALVERBRAUCHER

Literally, Otto “normal consumer."

2. CHINA: ZHANG SAN, LI SI

This translates to “Three Zhang, Four Li”—a reference to some of the most popular Chinese surnames.

3. DENMARK: MORTEN MENIGMAND

"Morton Everyman."

4. AUSTRALIA: FRED NURK

Sounds pretty normal to me.

5. RUSSIA: VASYA PUPKIN

With a name like that, it’s hard not to be a typical schmo.

6. FINLAND: MATTI MEIKÄLÄINEN

Meikäläinen looks like a typical Finnish surname, but it also means “one of us.”

7. SWEDEN: MEDELSVENSSON

Just your average Svensson.

8. FRANCE: MONSIEUR TOUT-LE-MONDE

“Mr. Everyone.” Also goes by Jean Dupont.

9. UK/NEW ZEALAND: JOE BLOGGS

Still an average Joe (but can also be a Fred).

10. ITALY: MARIO ROSSI

In Italy they just use a common name.

11. LATIN AMERICA: JUAN PÉREZ

The same is true in various Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America.

A version of this article was originally published on Mental Floss as "11 Versions of  'Average Joe' From Other Countries." Read more from Mental Floss.

About the Author

Arika Okrent, Mental Floss

Linguist, author of In the Land of Invented Languages, living in Chicago, doing her part to fight off the cot-caught merger and keep "gym shoes" alive.