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In English these names are used as a substitute for the average guy. Or as a specimen when filling out a passport form.

What names/expressions are used in Spanish for this purpose?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

That's depends on the use and, as far as I know, there is no official denomination.

On graves: Desconocido/a + number or Indocumentado/a + number

Official forms/documents: They usually use a common name + common surnames something like María García García or José Pérez García or even Nombre: Nombre Apellidos: Apellido Apellido

Surnames for un-recognized children (in Spain and out of use): Expósito

While talking (informal): Fulano, Zutano, tío, as in El fulano/tío ese de ahí, El otro día Fulano y Zutano... (used if you want to talk about the events without saying who did or said what).

And, as said in comments, Mengano and the diminutive forms fulanito, menganito, zutanito.

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And don't forger also about Mengano. Even the diminutive forms are quite common also: Fulanito, Menganito –  Auron Nov 30 '11 at 15:54
    
@Auron thanks! edited :) –  Laura Nov 30 '11 at 15:57
    
Yo me acordaba de tío, y quizás he oído de "Fulano" antes, pero no estoy seguro de eso... –  Alenanno Nov 30 '11 at 16:53
    
No es simplemente Juan sin nombre ? Al menos ese es el termino que se le da a los difuntos de los cuales se le desconoce el nombre o apellido real. Es un termino legalmente utilizado debido a que al difunto se le debe de llamar de una u otra manera mientras se indaga e investiga la identidad real. –  user983248 May 16 '12 at 13:42

A formal equivalent of John Doe (e.g. legal matters) in Spanish is N.N., derived from the Latin nomen nescio. Fulano, Perano, Zutano, Mengano, etc are used informally.

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Also an informal way of calling it the police sometimes (at least in Argentina) uses Natalia Natalia to refer to N.N. (no mater if male or female) –  rodrigoq Dec 4 '12 at 21:40

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