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The E-Sylum:  Volume 3, Number 20, May 14, 2000, Article 7

THE JOSH TO END ALL JOSHING 

   Greg Heim writes:  There is a site called alt.usage.english.FAQ. 
   I e-mailed someone about this when I read the supposed origin 
   in Money Talks.  It sounded a little glorified and they told me 
   that they were almost certain the origin of the word predated the 
   1880's, but never got back to me with any more information.  I 
   am glad to see that someone else dug a little deeper." 

   Bob Van Ryzin of Krause Publications writes: "Thought you might 
   be interested in the following from my 1995 book "Twisted Tails." 
   It was provided by Eric von Klinger who used to work here. 

   "Another favorite story among numismatists is that the popular 
   phrase of disbelief  "you're joshing" originated with Josh Tatum 
   and his passing of plated $5 gold coins.  Sorry, as writer Eric von 
   Klinger pointed out, its origin dates to much earlier. 

   "The American Thesaurus of Slang, for example, notes of 'josh': 

   'To banter, 'kid' (U.S.-1845). Origin obscure. The earliness of the 
   usage rules out the supposition that it derives from 'Josh Billings,' 

   who had not yet gained a reputation as a humorist.'" 

   Oh well.  The story of Josh, as well as the Billings quotes, 
   were entertaining while they lasted.   As at least one NBS Board 
   member can attest, I thought immediately of Bob's book when 
   the subject first came up, I just couldn't put my hands on it in 
   my newly reorganized library.  Shame on me - I cleaned things up 
   a little too well... 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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