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I watched an interview with Keira Knightly and she used this word when they were talking about her beauty bag.

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  • 1
    I think you'll need to provide a little more context from the conversation where this was said. Commented May 14, 2023 at 10:13
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    It's not "judges", it's a slang term (which I have no idea how to spell) that she's using to mean give silky body to her hair. Hopefully, someone will come along who knows how to spell it properly. Commented May 14, 2023 at 10:26
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    It may be an appropriation of the French jeux (play). Commented May 14, 2023 at 10:49
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    There's an earlier question about zhuzh which may be useful.
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 16:41
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    I find typo / mishearing questions really infuriating, for some reason. Since it has no connection, at all, in any way, to "judges", shouldn't the title simply be edited?
    – Fattie
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 12:41

2 Answers 2

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She says: But this "zhuzhes" without effort or skill.

Zhuzh:

to make something more interesting or attractive by changing it slightly or adding something to it:

  • The stylist said he would zhuzh up the outfit with a hat.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Its origin is unclear and its spelling may also vary:

‘Jeuje,’ ‘Zhoosh,’ ‘Zhuzh’: A Word of Many Spellings, and Meanings: from nytimes.com

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  • It was "Word of the Day" on dictionary.com back in August 2020, but we don't know exactly how the usage arose. Commented May 14, 2023 at 12:06
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    The etymology I hear in zhuzh is juice up, like pimp my ride. Commented May 14, 2023 at 15:30
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    good word for wordle
    – njzk2
    Commented May 14, 2023 at 19:14
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    I've commonly seen it said to have entered mainstream (British) English via Polari (a cant used particularly by the gay community, but also certain performers & sex workers in Britain up until the 20th century, exhibited especially clearly in Kenneth Williams' radio show "Round the Horne"), although I don't have any particular citation for that. That would probably make the proposed Anglo-Romani etymology (ultimately from Romani žuž- "clean") most likely, as Anglo-Romani is a major source of the Polari lexicon
    – Tristan
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 9:06
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    @Tristan For a citation, Wikipedia's entry for Polari mentions it. The "talk" for that page includes some discussion in 2008-9 about its origins.
    – Graham
    Commented May 15, 2023 at 11:54
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(I don't know if this will go down well, but I'll hazard a guess-etymology anyway — based on how is sounds and what it means.)


I'll bet that "Zhuzh" (or however it's supposed to be spelt) is directly related to:

je ne sais quoi | ˌʒə nə seɪ ˈkwɑː |
noun

a quality that cannot be described or named easily: that je ne sais quoi which makes a professional.

ORIGIN: French, literally ‘I do not know what’.

— Oxford Dictionary of English


The "almost everything cream" that Keira is talking about, apparently just make her hair better in a variety of somewhat vague/imprecise ways; it zhuzhes her hair up a little (it provides a certain je ne sais quoi).

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