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noun [uncountable]

the activity of making and/or drinking juice from fruit or vegetables


noun [countable]

1. a piece of electrical equipment for getting juice from fruit and vegetables

2. a person who regularly drinks juice made from fruit or vegetables

'You would have to be living in a Wi-Fi-less cave to have not noticed the incredibly vocal community who believes juicing is the panacea of all that is good and healthy on earth.'

Lifehacker 12th March 2014

'Pastron said about 60 percent of his customers are veteran juicers. "You can see it," he said. "People who walk by, they don't need to read the menu, they don't need to read the signs. They get it." The rest, he said, are aware of the benefits of juicing but need some guidance.'

Las Vegas Review-Journal 11th March 2014

A dietary craze which has rapidly gained momentum over the last couple of years appears to have given a whole new interpretation to the expression 'a liquid lunch'. Instead of munching your way through your requisite 'five (portions of fruit or veg) a day', why not swig them down in one fell swoop by indulging in regular bouts of juicing?

sales of domestic juicers skyrocketed during 2013 … and on the high street, juice bars now sit cheek by jowl with branches of big coffee chains

As we all know, the word juice is frequently used as a verb to describe the action of extracting juice from fruit or vegetables. Correspondingly, derivatives juicing and juicer have long been used to refer to the activity of extracting juice or the mechanical device which does the extraction. But in recent times the popularity of juicing has reached such frenzied heights that it seems the word itself has taken on a whole new sense. Juicing is no longer just extracting the juice, it's the process of consuming it too, and a juicer isn't just a kitchen appliance, it's also a person who regularly drinks its liquid output.

A further thing that's different about today's take on juicing is the colour. In the past, the word juicer would stereotypically conjure up images of citrus fruits cascading through a large contraption to produce an amber liquid you drink at breakfast. Today's juicing, by contrast, has turned from orange to green. Convinced of the health benefits of drinking vegetable juices, which are packed with vitamins but do not contain the worrisome level of sugar present in fruit juices, it seems that these days we've taken to drinking vegetable cocktails – think pulverized spinach, broccoli or curly kale …

Sales of domestic juicers skyrocketed during 2013, doubtless galvanized by popular glossy magazines, which now regularly feature photos of celebrities clutching sludge-green concoctions. On the high street, juice bars now sit cheek by jowl with branches of big coffee chains. And for ardent juicers (i.e. the people, not the electrical devices), there's even the option of what's now described as the juice cleanse – living for several days on nothing but juice and water in order to flush out your system.

But all this talk of 'blender benders' is making me hungry. As someone who finds it difficult to last more than a few hours without a carbohydrate fix, I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a juicer. By now, it's almost certainly time for me to pop into the kitchen for a frothy cappuccino and a chocolate chip cookie …

Background – juicing

The noun juice dates back to the 13th century, derived via Old French from Latin jus meaning 'sap, liquid'. Verb use of juice wasn't formally identified for another 300 years, first attested in the early 16th century.

The term juicer as a reference to an appliance for extracting juice didn't appear until the 1930s, the machine's invention credited to Dr Norman W. Walker, a British businessman and pioneer in nutritional health who appeared to have benefitted from his own expertise because he lived to the ripe old age of 99!

The new use of the word juicing as a description of the activity of consuming juice, and of juicer as a person who does this, is a very rare (perhaps one of the first?) example of a food or drink item self-referring to its consumption.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

Last week …

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This article was first published on 13th May 2014.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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