Last night I was casually scrolling through Twitter, retweeting beauty memes and cooing over pictures of fluffy baby animals (I'm a serious journalist, guys), when one post stopped me in my tracks. According to GQ's culture writer Maggie Lange, we've all been pronouncing "tousle" wrong. As in, to tousle your long, glorious waves.
I immediately tweeted at Maggie expressing my concern, as more and more people (including Kathleen Hou, senior beauty editor over at The Cut) jumped into the debate. "Is it tao? Or tau? Or tos? Or tow?" "Where does the 'z' sound come in?" "How did you discover this?" "WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD?" I finally said I would "sleep on it" and look into it the next morning. I consider myself a bit of a hair expert, after all, and if anyone should be saying this word correctly — it's me. Turns out, it's not toss-el or taw-sul (rhymes with fossil), as the R29 beauty team, pretty much every beauty vlogger on the planet, several hairstylists I frantically texted this morning, and I have been saying it. It's also not tuss-el, as Maggie and many British stylists pronounce it. It's touz-el or tao-zel (I cannot think of anything that rhymes with this word, because it's so foreign to me and I'm still a little bit in shock). I confirmed it with the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the Oxford dictionary, and the entire Refinery29 copy-editing team. And you can go ahead and listen to it out loud below.
So, there you have it. The tussle is real, guys.