In some regions, people say "spendy," and in other regions, people have never heard the term. Do they say it in your area?
"Spendy" Originated in 1911
The Oxford English Dictionary dates "spendy" back to 1911 and says it originated in the United States, so it seems unlikely its use would be driven by historical immigration trends. On the other hand, it could be that those historical immigration trends mean there are still a lot of people of Norwegian descent in Minnesota and Wisconsin with relatives and friends in Washington and Oregon and vice versa, and "spendy" usage could have spread through these communities.
A Little Help?
I'm mostly guessing to come up with a reason that "spendy" would be distributed as it is. Do any linguists out there want to give me a little help with a comment?
"Spendy" Could Be Spreading
In regions outside the Midwest and Pacific Northwest, a few people mentioned that they had just recently started hearing "spendy" or that teens or hipsters were the only ones saying "spendy." It was only 5 to 10 people, but that is more than have said such things for other words I've investigated, so it seemed worth mentioning.
Note: When I make the maps at Google Maps, I can see all the pins (which is what you see in the screenshot above); but once I save the map and go back, the entries are split over three screens and I can only see the pins for the results showing on the current screen. If anyone knows how to fix the problem so that visitors to the interactive Google Map can see the complete map, please let me know.
Mignon Fogarty is the author of Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know.