E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Doe (1 syl.).
John Doe and Richard Roe. Any plaintiff and defendant in an action of ejectment. They were sham names used at one time to save certain niceties of law; but the clumsy device was abolished in 1852. Any mere imaginary persons, or men of straw. John Doe, Richard Roe, John o Noakes, and Tom Styles are the four sons of Mrs. Harris, all bound apprentices to the legal profession.