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Attested in English since 1525-35. From earlier fysel (to fart). Related to fīsa (to fart). Compare with Swedish fisa (to fart (silently)). See also feist.


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈfɪzəl/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪzəl


fizzle (third-person singular simple present fizzles, present participle fizzling, simple past and past participle fizzled)

  1. To sputter or hiss.
    The soda fizzled for several minutes after it was poured.
  2. (figuratively) To decay or die off to nothing; to burn out; to end less successfully than previously hoped.
    The entire project fizzled after the founder quit.
    • 2016 June 27, Daniel Taylor, “England humiliated as Iceland knock them out of Euro 2016”, in The Guardian[1], London:
      And so it fizzled to its close with Gary Cahill galloping around as an extra centre-forward, mutinous chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt,” from the England followers and Hodgson’s media staff announcing he would not take any questions.
  3. (military, of a nuclear weapon) To fail to generate the expected yield when exploded during testing.
    The shot fizzled, generating only 200 tons rather than the 30 kilotons they were aiming for.

Derived terms[edit]



fizzle (plural fizzles)

  1. A spluttering or hissing sound.
  2. (military) Failure of an exploding nuclear bomb to meet its expected yield during testing.
  3. An abortive effort; a flop or dud.
  4. A state of agitation or worry.

Usage notes[edit]

In the context of nuclear testing, a fizzle (an explosion with inadequate yield) is distinguished from a dud (a failure to explode at all).


Related terms[edit]