Monday, November 08, 2010

Etymology Monday: Who is Josh?

Fret not, dear readers, for part 2 of my 15 Authors post is still coming. I have a request to honor for Etymology Monday today, though, so today we find out something I hadn't even thought to consider before; when you are "just joshing someone," which Josh are you invoking?

My hypothesis before researching this was that once in the mists of etymology, there was a guy named Joshua and he was kind of a dick. As it turns out, that's not too far from the truth. The OED attributes the verb "to josh" as a reference to Josh Billings, the pen name of an American humorist named Henry Wheeler Shaw. Shaw lived from 1818-1885, and Wikipedia has given him the honor of being " second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the second half of the 19th century after Mark Twain."

Although they're neck-and-neck in moustache cultivation.

 Josh Billings went in for misspelled folksy wisdom (unlike Sarah Palin, who manages only two out of three) and was apparently the man who popularized the saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Other immortal joshes include:
Scathing. When you tell someone you're just joshing them, it's this guy you are emulating. Which means, I think, that in order to josh anyone, one should first be required to grow that moustache.


Posted by Silent Five @ 9:53 PM

Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

Standard Disclaimer

This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)