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Zhuzh, Joozh, Zhoosh: to Adjust, Prettify, Make Neat

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Elijah from Akron, Ohio, was surprised when his girlfriend Jenny observed that he was zhuzhing his hair. Elijah was skeptical that zhuzh, meaning “to make more attractive,” was actually a word, until he heard others use it. The word was popularized by Carson Kressley in the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reality TV series from the early 2000s. He’d use the word to denote the action of making something prettier. Variant spellings include zhoosh and joosh, and the term seems to have arisen from secret lingo popular in parts of the gay community in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. The term may derive in turn from a Romany term, zhouzho, meaning to “clean” or “neaten.” This is part of a complete episode.

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