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I heard an American say the word 'shovey' or 'shovy' along with another word 'pushy'. In context, the latter was used to mean "unpleasantly self-assertive" or something. So, I could easily understand that the former was used in a similar sense.

But no dictionary I've consulted lists 'shovey' or 'shovy' as a word, not even in some slang dictionaries.

So I was wondering if 'shovey' or 'shovy' is a legitimate English word, and if so which one is the correct spelling.

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  • I do not believe shovy is in any way a correct spelling at all. Where have you seen this spelling used?
    – anonymous
    Nov 20, 2015 at 5:10
  • It seems apropos that you heard shovy (the arbitrary spelling I adopt) "along with" pushy since the examples cited in the answer and in the comments invite the conclusion that this is the only context you'll find shovy in. Similar to dovey which probably doesn't occur much outside of lovey dovey, although the two phenomena may not be exactly the same. Dec 22, 2016 at 5:14
  • It is a legitimate English word because it is based on an existing word and uses the standard rules of word formation (adding the bound morpheme -y to indicate something with the given nature; e.g. reddy, smiley, etc). The fact that is has not been used widely enough to appear in dictionaries doesn't mean it isn't a word.
    – user184130
    May 25, 2018 at 16:18

2 Answers 2

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I've never heard it used, and the OED is unaware of its existence, however it does appear in print. From the 2001 book Women College Basketball Coaches by Rosemarie Skaine.

When we were in college, we could be assertive, pushy and shovey on the basketball court, but we had to go into the locker room to change into frilly blouses and skirts.

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    Situations are often described as "pushy and shovey" in my neck of the woods. So it's definitely a word, even if the dictionaries haven't caught up with it yet.
    – ralph.m
    Nov 20, 2015 at 6:36
  • @ralph.m What godforsaken neck of the woods do you live in?
    – deadrat
    Nov 20, 2015 at 6:41
  • A very pushy and shovey neck of the woods—down here in kangaroo land. :-)
    – ralph.m
    Nov 20, 2015 at 6:42
  • I'm not sure that the fact that a Physical Education teacher got a book published should move the needle on acceptable English usage.
    – Euan M
    Nov 20, 2015 at 8:18
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When push came to shove, the speaker should have used 'pushy', (as 'shovey' is not a real word, no matter which way you spell it).

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