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May 11, 2020
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
gazump
al desko
grinagog
pot-valor
gazunder

Previous week’s theme
Words related to the hand
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

The English language has lots of words. More than half a million by one count. It’s just that many of them are not widely known. It’s a catch-22. You avoid using unusual words because you fear that others may not know them. And people do not know those words because they haven’t come across them.

In this week’s A.Word.A.Day we do our part to get rid of this catch-22. We feature five words that may make one say: I didn’t know there was a word for it.

gazump

PRONUNCIATION:
(guh-ZUHMP)

MEANING:
verb tr.:
1. To raise the price after accepting an offer from a buyer.
2. To offer a higher price to a seller on something that’s already being sold to another.
3. To preempt something, especially by questionable means.
4. To swindle.

ETYMOLOGY:
Of uncertain origin, perhaps from Yiddish gezumph (to overcharge). Earliest documented use: 1928.

NOTES:
Gazumping often happens in house sales. You have found your dream house, everything looks great, price negotiations are finished, inspection is done, you are ready to sign the contract, and then the seller receives a higher bid and gazumps: raises the price on you. It’s mostly seen in the UK. The term is often used in an extended sense: to trump something by the use of dubious methods. There’s a counterpart to today’s word. Meet it on Friday.

USAGE:
“Its ‘final’ offer was gazumped by a last-minute interloper.”
Alistair Osborne; Hedge Your Bets over Sirius Bid; The Times (London, UK); Feb 20, 2020.

“Ms. Lively used her website to gazump all gossip sites by announcing her pregnancy.”
Vanessa Friedman; The Goop Effect; The New York Times; Nov 16, 2014.

See more usage examples of gazump in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You are the sky. Everything else -- it's just the weather. -Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun and author (b. 1936)

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