1. Commonly called: "the artificial elevation that often occurs when a doctor or nurse reads a patient's blood pressure—the so-called white coat syndrome" (Andrew Weil).
2. Incorrectly or falsely termed: My so-called friends were gossiping about me again.
Usage Note: Quotation marks should not be used to set off descriptions that follow expressions such as so-called and self-styled, which themselves relieve the writer of responsibility for the attribution: his so-called foolproof method (not "foolproof method").
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.