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Alternative forms[edit]


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ʒʊʃ/, /ʒʊʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊʃ, -ʊʒ

Etymology 1[edit]

UK 1960s. Unclear origin; one explanation is that it was borrowed from Angloromani yuser (clean, verb) and yusher (clear, verb), from Angloromani yus-, yuz-, yuzh- (clean) and yush- (clear), from Romani žuž-, už- (clean, adjective) (also compare Hindi उज्ज्वल (ujjval, bright)), but this has been seen as problematic. Another theory is that the term is instead an "expressive formation" similar to whoosh and swish. The South African sense reportedly comes from a regional pronunciation of "Jewish", alluding to the high reputation of Jewish tailors at the time, but this has also been considered unlikely. All senses originated around the same time, with the first attributed use of the noun in 1968 and the verb in 1970.[1]


zhoosh (third-person singular simple present zhooshes, present participle zhooshing, simple past and past participle zhooshed)

  1. (transitive, originally Polari, UK and Australia, slang) To tweak, finesse or improve (something); to make more appealing or exciting. Usually with up.
    Synonyms: spice, spruce, sweeten
    • 1988, Neil Bartlett, Who Was That Man?, →ISBN, page 82:
      Mostly the words are dusted off and brought out when we wish to zhoosh up the conversation, to announce a particular delight in our queenly style.
    • 2009 May 27, Ruth La Ferla, “To Dress for Success, You Must Trust His Eye”, in The New York Times[1]:
      Mr. Warburton, a volunteer, swept into the group’s headquarters in the Hotel Pennsylvania, a team of hair stylists in tow, his objective to “zhoosh up” the women’s looks, he said.
    • 2021 December 21, Anna Berrill, “Final magic touches to zhoosh your Christmas lunch”, in The Guardian[2]:
      Christmas dinner is stressful enough without busting out recipes you’ve never made before. That said, if Sue is after a little zhoosh, she might want to consider how she dresses her veg.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:zhoosh.


zhoosh (comparative more zhoosh, superlative most zhoosh)

  1. (South Africa, slang) stylish, hot, cool
    Synonyms: à la mode, chic, trendy; see also Thesaurus:fashionable


zhoosh (countable and uncountable, plural zhooshes)

  1. (slang) style, glamor (especially in regard to clothing).
    Synonyms: dash, flamboyance, panache, swagger, verve
    • 2016 June 7, Tilda Swinton, quotee, “Tilda Swinton Shared A Moving Tribute To David Bowie At The CFDAs”, in Elle[3]:
      Thank you for your happiness and your eternal Bona-ness and zhoosh.
    • 2020 June 18, Simon Doonan, “Let's Return to the Exuberance of Window Shopping”, in Town & Country[4]:
      I grew up in a rain-lashed industrial town near London. Glamour and excitement were thin on the ground. The Swinging Sixties had yet to swing. No telly, no luxuries, no zhoosh. Except at Christmas time. Once a year, the local department store would festoon the window displays with twinkly lights and fake garland.
    • 2022 January 21, “The Monocle Minute”, in Monocle[5]:
      Beyond the zhoosh, spangle and splendour, there’s substance to the development too.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:zhoosh.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Onomatopoeic, from the sound of the blender.


zhoosh (third-person singular simple present zhooshes, present participle zhooshing, simple past and past participle zhooshed)

  1. (informal, transitive) To blend ingredients together using an electric food mixer.
    Synonym: blitz
    Throw it all in a blender and zhoosh it until it's creamy smooth.


zhoosh (plural zhooshes)

  1. (informal) The action of mixing ingredients using an electric food mixer; a pulse of mixing.
    Give the eggs and milk a quick zhoosh in the blender.


  1. ^ zhuzh, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2020.