Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Tue Sep 23 16:48:31 UTC 2003

On Tue, Sep 23, 2003 at 09:37:03AM -0700, Arnold M. Zwicky wrote:
> the spelling is pretty clearly deliberately bizarre.  i would have
> spelled it <zhuzh>, with <u> representing the [U] of <book>.
> steve suggests looking at gore vidal's works.  not very likely.
> an outside possibility is the Polari word <shush>.  see paul baker's
> Polari - The Lost Language of Gay Men.
> or someone could ask carson (from Queer Eye) if he remembers where he
> first heard the word.
> it could, of course, be an invention.  onomatopoetic, suggesting
> smoothness.

Actually, I wasn't being sarcastic about the dating--we _do_ have
evidence back to the 1970s. And it is in Baker--I don't have _Polari_
handy, but in the Polari section of _Fantabulosa_ he spells it
_zhoosh, jhoosh_, with six different senses as noun and verb, plus
the derived adjective _zhooshy_.

I think the spellings we have now include


Whoops, looking for these other spellings I now see an example
from 1968 in British use.

We don't seem to have any non-glossarial evidence for spellings
in j-, but my eyes are starting to cross.

Jesse Sheidlower

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