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

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 18 03:42:09 UTC 2016

As i understand it, the practice would be illegal in the US. You would be
subject to suit by the real estate brokers, as well as the other party, for

My experience in London in the late 80s was that the practice was a
commitment to accept a (non-binding under English law) price, and then
acceptance of a higher price from another party before closing.

The victims of gazumping were the original buyers who failed to get the
house they thought was theirs.
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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject:      It's not a new word, but...

...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 =

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.


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