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Probably originally college or showbusiness slang in the United States, then popularized in the American fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar in the 1930s:[1] see quotation.



pizzazz (uncountable)

  1. Flair, vitality, or zest; energy; vigor. [from 1930s]
    The show had a lot of pizzazz, with glittering costumes and upbeat music.
    • 1937, Harper’s Bazaar, volume LXXI, number 1, New York, N.Y.: Hearst Corp., →OCLC, page 116:
      Pizazz, to quote the editor of the Harvard Lampoon, is an indefinable dynamic quality, the je ne sais quoi of function; as, for instance, adding Scotch puts the pizazz into a drink. Certain clothes have it, too. 1. There's pizazz in this rust evening coat, swinging wide in back, jutting crazily over the shoulders, clasped with a cord at the throat.
    • 1979, “We Rap More Mellow”, performed by The Younger Generation:
      [Rahiem] Classified as a lover with a certain pizzazz / And you might even call it razzamatazz
    • 1979, Jill Williams, Rainbow Jones, Denver, Colo.: Pioneer Drama Service, →OCLC, act I, scene iii, page 17:
      Who says a beer can't be exciting, folks. Let me tell you something, folks, this here little can has got more oomph! More pazazz! More body than Mae West any day!
    • 2011, Jonathan Franklin, “TV Reality”, in The 33: The Ultimate Account of the Chilean Miners’ Dramatic Rescue, London: Bantam Press, →ISBN, page 180:
      With his miner's helmet in one hand, a white towel in the other, [Mario] Sepúlveda began to dance. He spun with the gusto and pzazz of a huaso, a Chilean cowboy.
    • 2011, John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle, “Observing Roadside America”, in Remembering Roadside America: Preserving the Recent Past as Landscape and Place, Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, →ISBN, pages 53–54:
      Driven by legalized gambling, many of the [Las Vegas] strip's motels had morphed into giant hotels with gambling floors and night clubs and surrounded by large parking lots. Closeness to Hollywood (with its fantasy world of entertainment bizazz) influenced strip architecture.
    • 2012, Nathaniel Martello-White, Blackta, London: Methuen Drama, Bloomsbury Publishing, →ISBN, page 35:
      Nah brov … nah brov … you see ultimately … without reason … without technique … without – pazzazz … one is sure to get, left behind …
    • 2013, Tony Lee Moral, “Writing”, in Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie, Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, Rowman & Littlefield, →ISBN, page 48:
      I don't think bezazz was the particular specialty of my mother … That's right cement and gravel, Chicago. Nice girl I'm told … but more in the line of barns than bezazz. Of course I never really knew her.
    • 2017 October 14, Paul Doyle, “Mauricio Pellegrino yet to find attacking solution for stuttering Southampton: Nothing so far this season suggests the Argentinian will be more successful than Claude Puel in finding the answer to the club’s continuing lack of firepower”, in The Guardian[1], London, archived from the original on 10 November 2017:
      As they prepare for Sunday's telling match with Newcastle, Southampton are 12th in the table and their new manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, has introduced such pizzazz that they have mustered five goals in seven league matches.

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  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “pizazz”, in Online Etymology Dictionary; compare “pizzazz”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.