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See more synonyms for josh on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with or without object)
  1. to chaff; banter in a teasing way.
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  1. good-natured banter.
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Origin of josh

An Americanism dating back to 1835–45; of obscure origin
Related formsjosh·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

razz, tease, banter, needle, jest, spoof, rib, kid, jive, jape

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

British Dictionary definitions for joshing


  1. to tease (someone) in a bantering way
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  1. a teasing or bantering joke
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Derived Formsjosher, noun

Word Origin

C19: perhaps from joke, influenced by bosh 1
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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper