1. The personal name most frequently used as a metasyntactic variable (see foo). Allegedly popular because it's easy for a non-touch-typist to type on a standard QWERTY keyboard. In Great Britain, `fred', `jim' and `sheila' are common metasyntactic variables because their uppercase versions were official names given to the 3 memory areas that held I/O status registers on the lovingly-remembered BBC Microcomputer! (It is reported that SHEILA was poked the most often.) Unlike J. Random Hacker or `J. Random Loser', the name `fred' has no positive or negative loading (but see Dr. Fred Mbogo). See also barney. 2. An acronym for `Flipping Ridiculous Electronic Device'; other F-verbs may be substituted for `flipping'.