An answer seems to be placeholder name according to wikipedia. This seems a bit limitative, since such a word could also replace a verb, or even a qualifier.
The word in French is pantonyme, which could be used as well in English (without the final "e"). I found traces on the web of pantonymy, for example in
Visualizing relationships in Hierarchical Small World Networks.
Programmers talk of "wild-card".
The above concerned words that have become accepted for that role in the language, and are being often used for that purpose. Some are listed in the wikipedia article. A good example is widget in English or machin in French.
Still according to wikipedia, a "nonce word", suggested by John Lawler, is somewhat
different. It is a "a lexeme created for a single occasion to solve an
immediate problem of communication, or an invented or accidental
linguistic form, used only once", according to their sources.
They give a variety of examples, including "quark" before physicists
made it a full fledged noun.
So, while it can play the same role as a placeholder name, this role
is not a well known and accepted one since the use of the word is not supposed to occur again.
There seem to be a relation between nonce words and neologisms, in the sense that both are created by their user, which is not the case for a placeholder words. But I believe that a neologism is usually crafted to suggest a specific meaning, and is often intended for reuse with that specific meaning.
An interesting aspect is that placeholder names may be
specialized. For example, in French, the non-existent town of
"Trifouillis les oies" can stand for any small village, far from
everything. It will be understood by any French speaker (i.e. from
France). Same goes for "Pétaouchnock" which is an undetermined kind of
place, rather far from anywhere decent.
But the non-existent city named Jérimadeth is a "nonce name" for a
city. It was mentionned only once by Victor Hugo in his poem Booz
endormi, apparently only to get his rhyme to work.
I suppose John Doe plays the same placeholder role for people names.