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heebie-jeebies

[hee-bee-jee-beez]
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noun (used with a plural verb) Slang.
  1. a condition of extreme nervousness caused by fear, worry, strain, etc.; the jitters; the willies (usually preceded by the): Just thinking about ghosts gives me the heebie-jeebies.
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Origin of heebie-jeebies

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10; rhyming compound coined by W. De Beck (1890–1942), American comic-strip cartoonist
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

anxietyjumpshivernervestrembleditherfidgettensenesswillies

Examples from the Web for heebie-jeebies

Historical Examples

  • Whatever it is, the thing gave me the heebie-jeebies for a minute.

    Dorothy Dixon and the Double Cousin

    Dorothy Wayne

  • If it takes all this detail to fly straight and level, I'll get the heebie-jeebies when it comes to acrobatics!


British Dictionary definitions for heebie-jeebies

heebie-jeebies

pl n
  1. the heebie-jeebies slang apprehension and nervousness
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Word Origin

C20: coined by W. De Beck (1890–1942), American cartoonist
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 heebie-jeebies

n.

1923, said to have been coined by U.S. cartoonist Billy De Beck (1890-1942), creator of "Barney Google."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper