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See also: Fritz and Fritz'



Unknown. See on the fritz, which appeared in 1902. Possibly from German name Fritz, or onomatopoeia.



fritz (uncountable)

  1. (US, informal) The state of being defective.
  2. (Australia, chiefly South Australia) A type of processed meat sausage; devon
    • 2000, Peter Cerexhe, John Ashton, Risky Foods, Safer Choices: Avoiding Food Poisoning, page 52,
      Generally, cooked deli products include Devon, Strasbourg sausage, Polish sausage, fritz, cabanossi or cabana, mortadella, and well-cooked roast beef (brown/grey in colour).

Usage notes[edit]

Used especially in the expression on the fritz.


fritz (third-person singular simple present fritzes, present participle fritzing, simple past and past participle fritzed)

  1. (intransitive) To go wrong or become defective.
    • 2008 May 18, Virginia Heffernan, “Pixels at an Exhibition”, in New York Times[1]:
      One clip, of Talking Heads playing “Born Under Punches” in Rome in 1980, is shot largely at groin level, amid sound equipment that is being manipulated for feedback squeals and other effects; it’s like being close to the crooked spine and fritzed nervous system of a body that’s simultaneously pushing its sex appeal.
    • 2009, Jaqueline Girdner, Murder, My Deer, page 15:
      My brain was fritzing like an elderly TV set about to die. I hit the side of my head with the heel of my hand. Percussive maintenance. It didn't work.

Related terms[edit]