Zhuzh, juuj, zhoosh, and even tszuj. It’s hard to tie down a spelling for this onomatopoeic word. It means to spruce up something lightly to give it flair or improve the appearance/presentation of almost anything. Cursory research found it defined in Dictionary.com and Cambridge English Dictionary. Its usage has risen in a large body of literature by almost 500 percent since the late 1990s, according to Google ngram.
Various theories exist about its beginnings. One theory is that it has Yiddish origins. It is popular in the fashion industry, thanks in part to Queer Eye persona Carson Kressley, who said he heard it first from Ralph Lauren, when they worked together.
My prediction: Look for zhuzh to make it into all the major dictionaries in the near future—maybe when we can settle on a universal spelling. It is a very useful word that rolls easily through scrunched lips.
- Benny added pepper flakes to zhuzh up the scrambled eggs for the breakfast crowd.
- Flo used sparkles to zhuzh her makeup for the evening performance.
How would you use this word? What’s your preferred spelling?
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