[Ads-l] It's not a new word, but...

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 18 02:47:58 UTC 2016

...a nice one, and new to me: _gazump_


Apparently it's mostly familiar to the British and Irish, although the word itself is possibly from the Yiddish (_gazumpf_), although the OED is skeptical ("origin uncertain").  I don't know what the current thinking is on this.  The OED's cites for _gazump_--

To swindle; spec. to act improperly in the sale of houses, etc.

--going back to 1928 are all from British sources as far as I can tell, even though the practice involved, a seller raising the agreed-on price to bilk the buyer, is as American as overpriced apple pie.  The spellings "gazoomph", "gasumph", "gezumph" are also attested in the cites.  And then there's urbandictionary, which has an entry for _gazump_, 

Also gesumph or gesumpf, said to have come into the British property business from the second-hand car trade in the 1970s. originally means to swindle, cheat or steal, now means to outbid (peculiar to the English and Welsh housing market). Ultimately derived from a German word meaning to put into a swamp or, in the modern idiom, to dump in the shit.

and one for _gazunder_, which apparently can either be the antonym of _gazump_ ("A term used to describe what happens when a British house buyer drops the price just before contracts exchange") or something rather else ("A chamber pot for the collection of faeces and urine, so called because it gazunder the bed").  Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer cherce.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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