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[josh] /dʒɒʃ/
verb (used with or without object)
to chaff; banter in a teasing way.
good-natured banter.
Origin of josh
An Americanism dating back to 1835-45; of obscure origin
Related forms
josher, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for joshing
Historical Examples
  • If you had, I'd probably have told it around and you'd have got a lot of joshing.

    Left End Edwards Ralph Henry Barbour
  • Those there fellows he's joshing have been with him seven years.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • I'm just joshing the weakness of the lemonade the Associations give us.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • "Now there's a woman's thinking for you," he chided her fondly, joshing her a little.

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • "One might almost think that he was joshing me," said Bateman, flushing.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
  • Great was the joshing that followed the landing of the two missing boats.

  • He even indulged himself in a bit of joshing with the Mystic.

    The Gay Gnani of Gingalee Florence Huntley
  • I could have killed the boys for joshing me the way they did.

    Angel Island Inez Haynes Gillmore
  • The boys thought he was joshing them, but Long Lester was telling the literal truth.


    Allen Chaffee
  • The boys are joshing me now—not that I care for what might easy enough be so, but there's Billy.

    Lin McLean Owen Wister
British Dictionary definitions for joshing


to tease (someone) in a bantering way
a teasing or bantering joke
Derived Forms
josher, noun
Word Origin
C19: perhaps from joke, influenced by bosh1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for joshing



"to make fun of, to banter," 1845, American English, probably from the familiar version of the proper name Joshua, but just which Joshua, or why, is long forgotten. Perhaps it was taken as a typical name of an old farmer. The word was in use earlier than the career of U.S. humorist Josh Billings, pseudonym of Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818-1885), who did not begin to write and lecture until 1860; but his popularity after 1869 may have influence that of the word.

About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment. ["Josh Billings"]
Related: Joshed; joshing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for joshing



: It was just a tasteless little josh (1978+)


To joke;banter; kid: continued Brian, unwilling to be joshed out of it (1845+)

[origin unknown; the earliest example is capitalized, suggesting a proper name; Eric Partridge gives ''a country man; a rustic'' as one sense, so perhaps the primary meaning is ''to behave like a bumpkin'' or ''to fool one by seeming to be a rural simpleton'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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