verb (used without object), fiz·zled, fiz·zling.

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

Synonyms for fizzle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for fizzle

misfire, wane, abort, fail, fold, miscarry, end, die

Examples from the Web for fizzle

Contemporary Examples of fizzle

Historical Examples of fizzle

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

  • And I must say, as a raid in force, it was more or less of a fizzle.

    Torchy and Vee

    Sewell Ford

  • The Raid was a fizzle and the commander and all his men were captured by the Boers.

    An African Adventure

    Isaac F. Marcosson

  • It is a fizzle, a twentieth-century abomination—an invention with no room for an ad.

    Perkins of Portland

    Ellis Parker Butler

  • You must be so well equipped that you will not make life a “fizzle.”

    'Boy Wanted'

    Nixon Waterman

British Dictionary definitions for fizzle


verb (intr)

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 for fizzle

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

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