gad·​zook·​ery | \ gad-ˈzü-kə-rē How to pronounce gadzookery (audio) , -ˈzu̇- How to pronounce gadzookery (audio) \

Definition of gadzookery

: the use of archaisms (as in a historical novel)

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Gadzooks . . . you astonish me! cries Mr. Lenville in Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby. We won't accuse Dickens of gadzookery ("the bane of historical fiction," as historical novelist John Vernon called it in Newsday), because we assume people actually said "gadzooks" back in the 1830s. That mild oath is an old-fashioned euphemism, so it is thought, for "God's hooks" (a reference, supposedly, to the nails of the Crucifixion). Today's historical novelists must toe a fine line, avoiding expressions like "zounds" and "pshaw" and "tush" ("tushery" is a synonym of the newer "gadzookery," which first cropped up in the 1950s), as well as "gadzooks," while at the same time rejecting modern expressions such as "okay" and "nice."

First Known Use of gadzookery

1945, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gadzookery

gadzook(s) (taken to be an archaism) + -ery

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The first known use of gadzookery was in 1945

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Cite this Entry

“Gadzookery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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