The Grammarphobia Blog

A “fustrating” situation

Q: I know many people (mostly from northern New Jersey) who say “fustrated” for “frustrated.” When I asked one why he pronounced it that way, he said, “That’s how it’s pronounced.” Is this common? It totally drives me nuts.

A: I had a blog item last year about a similar-sounding word, “flustrated,” a mixing of “flustered” and “frustrated.” It’s not accepted by most dictionaries, at least not yet, but many such combinations (linguists call them “blends” or “blended words”) are part of the English language.

As for “fustrated,” I couldn’t find it in my usual language references: the Oxford English Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.), Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.), and so on.

But when I googled it, I got 153,000 hits, including this one from Urban Dictionary, an online slang dictionary whose definitions are written by users:

“Having such a high level of fustration that you completely forget to pronounce the first ‘R’ in the word ‘frustration’ when you try to describe your feelings to your peers.”

So, “fustrated” is getting around, though it’s not generally accepted. I hadn’t seen (or heard) this usage until you mentioned it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I see “fustrated” everywhere from now on. Frustrating, isn’t it?

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