In some regions, people say "spendy," and in other regions, people have never heard the term. Do they say it in your area?

Mignon Fogarty
3-minute read

"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.


You can find the complete set of answers on the Grammar Girl Facebook page and on my Google+ page.

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


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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