Podcast: Spruce it up

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

Feb 18
Inglês - Podcast Spruce it up

Hey, everyone. No episódio de hoje, falamos sobre uma expressão do inglês que nem os nativos sabem direito como escrever! Por sorte, uma blogueira, falante nativa de inglês, teve a mesma dúvida que eu e escreveu um post que acabou esclarecendo a questão.


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So here’s what went on a couple of weeks ago as I watched an English woman speak about something on some video: she used an expression  that I’d never heard before. It sounded like “joojed it up” or “joujed it up” or something like that. The woman was showing how to style her hair a certain way when she said “I haven’t ‘joujed it up’ yet”. First thing I did was google it, right? I tried a couple of different spellings but nothing interesting turned up. Since I share a house with native English speakers, naturally I turned to them for some help.

My landlady, Shaku, who’s English, said she’d never heard that expression before in her life. Weird. I then asked Kate, my Australian housemate, and that’s when my little mystery was partially solved. Kate told me that her mother uses ‘jooje it up’ all the time. To ‘jooje something up’ means to make it better, in general. Here’s another much better known English expression that has the same meaning: spruce something up. You can spruce up your bedroom by applying wallpaper to one of the walls, for example. You can spruce up your whole look by… painting your nails a nice color. Or by wearing a nice necklace. You could spruce up a simple lettuce-and-tomato salad with some mint leaves. Are you on LinkedIn, the social network for professionals? There are tons of tips offered by experts on how to spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Same thing for your profile on dating websites, if you’ve got one. So there you go: spruce something up means to make it look better, or taste better, or make it more interesting and so on. I found a web page that gives you ten different ways to spruce up an old winter coat (mainly with accessories, by the way).

Alright, now that we know what spruce something up means, let’s go back to ‘jooje it up’ – once Kate told me what it meant, I asked her how to spell the expression. You know what she told me? She said she had no idea. She said “Jooje something up is just something you say, not something you write”. Ok, I get it. It’s slang. Still, there has to be a spelling. At this point, Shaku chimed in saying that it was probably spelled j-o-u-g-e.

So I went back to Google and I looked up Shaku’s suggestion – ‘jouge it up’. And there it was – I found a blog post where the blogger used the expression. The author also posed the question of how to spell the expression correctly, saying she’d never seen that expression in written form, much like Kate. Well, a few people posted comments trying to give the author an answer, and after taking a look at all the comments there seem to be two or three accepted spellings… Here’s one of them: z-h-o-o-z-s-h. Yep, that would be ‘zhoozsh’ . Have a read at the comments if you’re interested in how the expression may have originated.

So zhoozsh it up, spruce it up… up to you. Here’s one real example from my life: this morning I spruced myself up a little with some make up. What are your examples? Let us know in the comments and talk to you next time!


  • zhoozsh (something) up
  • spruce (something) up



I googled it = eu procurei (aquilo) no Google

nothing turned up = nada apareceu (como resultado da busca)

I turned to them for help = eu fui buscar ajuda com eles, me dirigi a eles para obter ajuda

chimed in = entrou na conversa, deu um palpite

much like Kate = da mesma forma que a Kate, que nem a Kate

Fátima Regina 21/02/2014

Good evening Ann!
How’s it going?

This is my example and I do not know if it is correct.
” I spruce my nails up in order to become more beautiful.”
Women usually do that!


joao paulo 20/02/2014

I saw this in a web site:

“What is the meaning of the title of both your cook books “Zhoozsh!”?

It’s an adaption and contradiction of the word Jewish, and dates from the early 1900s when migrant workers would utilize the services of Jewish tailors in downtown Johannesburg to extend the life of their old clothes by repairing or smartening them.”


Great post! It was just amazing, thanks Ana.

Jessica 19/02/2014

Olá querida Ana Luíza! Adoro seus podcasts e achei esse bem interessante.
Minha dúvida é quanto à conjugação desse “verbo”, ele seria irregular, conjugado da mesma forma em qualquer tempo verbal?
Outra dúvida é se serei entendida caso eu use essa expressão aqui nos Estados Unidos ou se é exclusividade do inglês britânico.
Obrigada e abraços!

    Ana 21/02/2014

    Nunca ouvi nos EUA, e não posso dizer com certeza que não seja usada lá. Mas em pouco tempo aqui no UK, já ouvi.

Cintia 19/02/2014


I have seen this expresion on Urban Dictionary but the spell is not the same.

In the fashion world, it means to make something better, generally by tweaking or quirking it to better fit what it’s supposed to do both functionally and artistically. It’s become most popular due to its frequent use on the hit Bravo show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, usually by their fashion guru Carson Kressly. It is very hard to pronounce, and even harder to spell, many times often misspelled ‘jujj’ or ‘jooj’. Pronounced “zhuj”, by the way.
Carson: “Just tszuj it a little, and you’re set!”
by Synjo July 04, 2005″

Do you think you are talking about the same?

See yah

    Ana 21/02/2014

    Yes, I think it’s the same expression, and one more way to spell it which just goes to show everyone has a different opinion about this one!
    Congrats for finding that.

Renan 19/02/2014

It would be a good idea the Jonata’s comment.
I learn a lot here…
Ana, you aren’t a teacher. You are THE TEACHER!

    Ana 21/02/2014

    Thanks, Renan :) Enjoy,

Jonata fontela 19/02/2014

Hey Ana! Well,yesterday I try to spruce my hair up before going to work because It looked awful! It didn’t really work though lol :p
Ana,why don’t you record a podcast with one of your housemates?that would be awsome!:)

    Ana 21/02/2014

    Jonata – I’ve been thinking about it!

    What did you do to spruce up your hair? Put on some gel?

      Jonata fontela 22/02/2014

      Yeah,I put on lots of gel every day,it’s a must! :D

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