[ fiz-uhl ]
/ ˈfɪz əl /

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.

Nearby words

  1. fixture,
  2. fizeau,
  3. fizgig,
  4. fizz,
  5. fizzer,
  6. fizzle out,
  7. fizzwater,
  8. fizzy,
  9. fj,
  10. fjeld

Origin of fizzle

1525–35; earlier fysel to break wind, frequentative of *fise < Old Norse fīsa to break wind; akin to feist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fizzle out


/ (ˈfɪzəl) /

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 out



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

Idioms and Phrases with fizzle out

fizzle out

Fail, end weakly, especially after a hopeful beginning. For example, The enthusiasm for reform has fizzled out in this state. The word fizzle dates from the early 1500s and meant “to break wind without making noise.” Later it was applied to hissing noises, such as those made by wet fireworks, and then to any endeavor that ends in disappointment. [Colloquial; mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.