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Word of the Day
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Definitions for heebie-jeebies

  1. Slang. 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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Citations for heebie-jeebies
In the sudden swelling of the shadows, the dolls appeared to shift on the shelves, as if preparing to leap to the floor. Their painted eyes--some bright with points of reflected light and some with a fixed inky glare--seemed watchful and intent. I had the heebie-jeebies. Big time. Dean Koontz, Fear Nothing, 1998
... we enjoy Pixar's Wall-E and Nintendo's Mario, but we get the heeby jeebies from the ultra-realistic faces of The Polar Express or the upcoming Tintin movie. Mark Brown, "Why Brains Get Creeped Out by Androids," Wired, July 19, 2011
Origin of heebie-jeebies
The American cartoonist William (“Billy”) De Beck (1890-1942) was most famous for his comic strip Take Barney Google, F'rinstance (1919), which became Barney Google and Snuffy Smith in 1934. De Beck is responsible for coining heebie-jeebies, balls of fire, and time’s a-wastin. Heebie-jeebies entered English in the 20th century.