What is spruiking?

Word count: 208 words

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: spruiking.

I had never before heard the word spruiking. I won’t pretend I stumbled across it in my reading. Instead, one of my subscribers forwarded it to me, via this rather amusing post.  I especially enjoyed the video that allowed me to see shopkeepers or, more likely, salespeople, spruiking on the streets of Melbourne.

Spruiking is an Australian term and it refers to speaking in public to promoting goods, services, or causes. (If you’re from the Pacific Northwest you might think of the stores in the Seattle public market. Lots of spruiking goes on there!)

The etymology of the word spruiking is unclear. But posters to the blog speculate that it might originate from the Dutch word spreken or the German word sprechen for “to speak.” Interestingly, there seem to be two accepted pronunciations: “sprowk,” with the ‘ow’ sound the same as in “cow” or “sprook” the same as the “oo” sound in “moon.”

And the suggested synonyms? Pitching, pimping or touting.

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