In hackers' jargon, a "metasyntactic variable", a sample name that is used to stand in for an actual page- or filename. Others include bar, baz, and qux. These get combined into "generic" filenames like or foobar.baz. When used as actual filenames, foo and its ilk are understood to be for scratch-files.

Source: The New Hacker's Dictionary, ed. Eric S. Raymond, illus. Guy L. Steele, Jr. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996.)

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