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mush, n.4

Brit. /mʌʃ/
U.S. /məʃ/
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Of uncertain origin. Perhaps a variant or alteration of another lexical item. Perhaps formed within English, by conversion. Etymons: mush n.3; mush v.3
Etymology: Origin uncertain; perhaps < mush n.3 (either because the passenger was sheltered by an umbrella, or for the reason given in quot. 1974), or perhaps < mush v.3 (see quot. 1975 at musher n.2, and compare marche-donc n.). Compare slightly earlier musher n.2, mushing n.2
British slang (chiefly London).

  An owner-driver of a cab; a cab driver who owns a small number of cabs. Cf. musher n.2

[1889   C. T. Clarkson & J. H. Richardson Police! xix. 252   A ‘mush’ man is a driver who mounts his own cab.]
1892   Labour Comm. Gloss.   Little mushes, term applied to those in the cab-driving industry who drive their own vehicles.
1902   Academy 27 Dec. 706/2   A Mush is the owner of 3 or 4 cabs.
1939   H. Hodge Cab, Sir? v. 60   They say a starving mush—(that's an owner-driver buying his car on the never-never)—once thought he'd get a free car wash from these street-cleaners.
1973   Sunday Times 11 Nov. 21/8   Mick Roberts will run his cab as a ‘mush’, or owner-driver.
1974   Sunday Times Mag. 17 Mar. 66/1   A ‘mush’ (a driver who has ‘mushroomed’ from being a company driver to owner driver).

1892—1974(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, March 2003).