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Posted by ESC on October 02, 2000

In Reply to: You're joshin' me posted by WickedClown on October 02, 2000

: Where did the phrase 'you're joshin' me', come from? If you know, please e-mail me...

"JOSH - The best guess is that the Americanism 'josh,' for 'to kid' or 'fool around,' is a merging of 'joke' and 'bosh.' The pseudonym of an American writer may have something to do with the word, though. Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818-85) wrote his deliberately misspelled crackerbox philosophy under the pen name Josh Billings. Employing dialect, ridiculous spellings, deformed grammar, monstrous logic, puns, malapropisms, and anticlimax, he became one of the most popular literary comedians of his time. The expression 'to josh' was used about 18 years before Josh Billings began writing in 1863, but his salty aphorisms probably strengthened its meaning and gave the term wider currency." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Fact on File, New York, 1997)

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