[ puh-zaz ]
/ pəˈzæz /
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noun Informal.
liveliness; vitality; vigor.
attractive style; dash; flair.
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Sometimes piz·zazz . Rarely pa·zazz .

Origin of pizazz

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40; origin obscure


pi·zazz·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does pizazz mean?

Pizazz is an informal word for the energy, style, or flair that makes something dazzling or exciting. It’s that extra element that makes something really pop or sparkle.

Pizazz is an American slang term. If you say something has pizazz, you mean it’s impressive in an exciting, dynamic way. If you say something lacks pizazz, you mean it’s a little dull—it needs something to make it exciting or special.

Example: That dancer has great form, but I wish he had a little more pizazz.

Where does pizazz come from?

The first records of term pizazz are from the 1930s. The word is often attributed to Diana Vreeland, the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, but the origin of the term isn’t known for sure.

Pizazz is often associated with fashion and things that are visual, but it can be applied to many other things. Pizazz is used to describe the essence of something that’s stylish, vigorous, or engaging, as in That dress has got pizazz—look at all the bold details!

Just as often, pizazz is used in reference to the lack of it. In this way, it is used to suggest improvements in order to elevate something, as in The sign you made is nice, but it lacks pizazz. It needs something to really make it stand out.  

In both cases, pizazz is an abstract element that may be hard to identify or describe. But when you add pizazz to something, it should be obvious. It should make something noticeably better or different, like adding a bold spice to a bland dish.

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What are some other forms of pizazz?

  • pizzazz (alternate spelling, with an extra z for even more pizzazz)

What are some synonyms for pizazz?

What are some words that often get used in discussing pizazz?


How is  pizazz used in real life?

Pizazz is used informally and usually in the context of a compliment or some constructive criticism.



Try using pizazz!

Which of the following words is a synonym for pizazz?

A. boredom
B. pizza
C. dullness
D. pep

How to use pizazz in a sentence