Joshing – Origin and Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Personally, I hate the term “joshing” because I have an ex whose name is Josh, and every time I hear, “I’m just Joshing you,” I cringe. But that’s beside the point here. My job is to teach you the true meaning and proper usage of the word “joshing” so you know how to correctly use it in a sentence. Let’s go!

The Meaning of Joshing

Joshing Origin Meaning

Looking for a new way to say joking or kidding? Enter joshing. It’s a common English term we use to describe light-hearted and good-natured banter. It’s meant to elicit laughter and amusement but not hurt your feelings or cause any offense.

When you’re joshing with someone, you’re engaging in playful, harmless fun, which is a far cry from the nasty jabs I’ve seen some people take.

Just Joshing Origin

I’m sure it seems like “joshing” could have sprung from the mind of a clever wordsmith named Josh; the truth is a little more interesting. The term is actually derived from the name of a famous American humorist, Josh Billings, who was born Henry Wheeler Shaw in the 1800s.

Joshing Ngram
Joshing usage trend.

Billings was known for his humorous writings and lectures, which sometimes used intentional misspellings and malapropisms to get his point across. His popularity in the 19th century led to people using “josh” as a verb meaning “to make fun of” or “to engage in light-hearted teasing.” And thus, my friends, the term “joshing” was born.

Should “Joshing” Be Capitalized?

Since it’s not taken from the proper name Josh (trust me, I checked) and is meant as a variation of joking or kidding, you don’t need to capitalize the word joshing.

I’m Just Joshing You Examples in a Sentence

Joshing Origin Meaning 1

Ready to add a touch of color to your conversations and writing? Here’s a list of sentences using the word “joshing” to give you some ideas on how to use the term.

  • Listen, I’m sorry; I was just joshing when I said you looked like you’d just rolled out of bed. I promise, you always look great.
  • Sarah knew her brother was only joshing when he said he’d eaten all the cookies she’d made because she watched him hide some away in the cupboard.
  • “Oh, don’t take me seriously; I’m usually just joshing you,” Tom told us with a laugh.
  • You can’t believe a word that comes out of Mike’s mouth because he’s always joshing around about everything; it’s hard to tell when he’s serious.
  • The only thing I miss about working in retail is joshing around with my co-workers.
  • I wasn’t serious when I said you couldn’t come to the party; I was just joshing with you.

Joshing Around

Now, go forth and use the term “joshing” in the right context the next time you’re kidding around with someone. After reading my quick guide, you should have a pretty good understanding of what the term means and how it should be implemented. And be sure to read over our other grammar guides on idioms and fun words like this!

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: