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

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 26 00:54:25 UTC 2016

Before the British slang verb, "gazoomph" (later gazump) was first attested in 1828, there was an American slang noun, "gazump," which generally meant an old car.  "Gazump" dates to at least 1912 (I was gussied up in the real Tuxede with the satin blazizums all over the front and the gazump and the little concertina hat. George Ade, The Slim Princess, New York, A. L. Burt Co., 1911, page 234.).  The automotive sense to at least 1912 (You are doubless getting some mighty attractive offer to sell the "Scootmobile," the "Puzuzza," the "Guzump" and others.).

The American slang word was mentioned in a review of Carl Sandburg's collection of poetry, Smoke and Steel, in a British magazine in 1922 (The Nation and Athenaeum, April 29, 1922, page 158); but Sandburg did not use "gazump" in the most common American sense of automobile, he used it to refer to "slant-head" attorney.

The American "gazump" may be a variant of the more common American slang term of the period, "gazabo"; many of the non-automotive uses of "gazump" used the word in nearly the same way "gazabo" would be used.

The OED has "Gazoomph" in Britain from as early as 1928; as a verb with an apparently unrelated meaning.  A citation in the OED from 1934 asserted that "gazumph" was Yiddish.  All of the earliest examples in the OED end with -mph, as opposed to -mp, so it may be unrelated to the American gazump; but still, it is interesting that nearly the same word emerged in England shortly after the word gained currency in the US.

I put a number of examples of Gazump, Gazip, Gazipe and Gazabo in a post on my blog: Gazip, Gazipe, Gazump - Variants of Gazabo?
I posted a piece about "Gazabo" a couple months ago: Hobos, Gazabos, Tramps and the Great Bozo.

> Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2016 21:47:58 -0500
> From: laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
> Subject: It's not a new word, but...
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> 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_
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