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Famous Last Words


[fiz-uh l] /ˈfɪz əl/
verb (used without object), fizzled, fizzling.
to make a hissing or sputtering sound, especially one that dies out weakly.
Informal. to fail ignominiously after a good start (often followed by out):
The reform movement fizzled out because of poor leadership.
a fizzling, hissing, or sputtering.
Informal. a failure; fiasco.
Origin of fizzle
1525-35; earlier fysel to break wind, frequentative of *fise < Old Norse fīsa to break wind; akin to feist
2. miscarry, collapse, founder. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fizzle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The first is that mysterious nullifying force by which such movements usually do fizzle out.

    Books and Persons Arnold Bennett
  • It was a lot easier just to let her explode and then fizzle out.

    The Odyssey of Sam Meecham Charles E. Fritch
  • For there were only occasions on which Dr. Slavens admitted himself to be a fizzle in the big fireworks of the world.

    Claim Number One George W. (George Washington) Ogden
  • And I must say, as a raid in force, it was more or less of a fizzle.

    Torchy and Vee Sewell Ford
  • Well, perhaps I may, though my most promising clue has turned out a bit of a fizzle.

    The Banner Boy Scouts George A. Warren
British Dictionary definitions for fizzle


verb (intransitive)
to make a hissing or bubbling sound
(often foll by out) (informal) to fail or die out, esp after a promising start
a hissing or bubbling sound; fizz
(informal) an outright failure; fiasco
Word Origin
C16: probably from obsolete fist to break wind
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fizzle

1530s, "to break wind without noise," probably altered from obsolete fist, from Middle English fisten "break wind" (see feisty) + frequentative suffix -le. Related: Fizzled; fizzling.

Noun sense of "failure, fiasco" is from 1846, originally U.S. college slang for "failure in an exam." Barnhart says it is "not considered as derived from the verb." The verb in this sense is from 1847.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fizzle



: Our monster bash was a fizzle


To fail; lose effect; flop, peter out: I bail out of all my commitments and things fizzle

[1840s+ College students; fr the lackluster sibilance of a damp firecracker]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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