Interesting and Unusual Words: “Gazump”

By Matt Vicker


In my experience, the word ‘gazump’ is used to mean ‘to sneak in front of someone – I have been gazumped!’ You can gazump someone, in the same way that someone can gazump you. They can pip you at the post. You can steal in at the last. Gazumped. I happened to gazump my Father in the race to the bathroom yesterday morning under the somewhat childish ruling; ‘you snooze; you lose’.

The OED says that it can be orthographically formed in several ways – ‘gasumph,  gazoomph,  gazumph,  gezumph’ so if you don’t spell it quite like me, then I will let you off! One thing that I would say, is that the OED definition does differ from the way I use it. According to the source ‘to gazump’ is: ‘to swindle; spec. to act improperly in the sale of houses’. I have to say that I did not beat my Father in the selling of a house. Is this language change? Has the OED not documented a change in meaning, or is it just all in my head? Please let me know if you use ‘gazump’ in contexts outside of property-selling – for my own peace of mind! Also, let me know if you have been gazumped recently, if not, are you normally the gazumper?

The OED entry for ‘gazump’:



  1. I’ve only ever used gazump in relation to house-buying (and it’s a rather stressful situation to be in for house-buyers, as you can be gazumped for all those months it takes to get the sale through). It may be used in other situations as well (since you used the term with your dad)?

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