Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Informal A condition in which something does not work properly: Our television is on the fritz.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being defective.
  • n. A type of processed meat sausage; devon
  • v. To go wrong or become defective.

Etymologies

Perhaps from German Fritz, diminutive of the name Friedrich.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Unknown. See on the fritz, which appeared in 1902. Possibly from German name Fritz, or onomatopoeia. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I flack slim pursuant passer drank me albanian louisville dump, answer is pertain fritz anneal clank chaperon

    Boing Boing: October 17, 2004 - October 23, 2004 Archives

  • But to watch yuppie parents squirm with dread and confusion when anything in their households goes on the fritz is to wonder whether it was such a bad thing for one half of the marriageable population to know how to mend a fallen hem and the other to have rudimentary knowledge of the workings of a fuse box.

    Leaving It to the Professionals

  • Edwards was back in his meteorological office, wearing his field jacket, flak jacket, and "fritz" style helmet.

    Red Storm Rising

  • It later dawned on me that "fritz" is an ethnic slur against Germans.

    ScienceBlogs Channel : Life Science

  • As the building comes closer, the nerves fritz louder, until we are through the big chain-link gates, and walking across the frost-heaved potholed asphalt playground.

    Angry Young Man

  • "I loved the concept so much I bought another one when the first one went on the fritz," says an Amazon.com review of the Nine Stars DZT-50-9 13.2 gallon sensor can written by Mark Elridge, a 38-year-old computer programmer from Toronto.

    New Breed of Open Sesame Garbage Cans

  • And it had to go wrong at the worst possible moment, the mics going on the fritz during the big romantic finale of all places, in "Love Lost and Found."

    Archive 2010-06-01

  • In addition to the dicey plumbing, the power was frequently on the fritz.

    A Covert Affair

  • Anybody remember back in '92 or so when it was our own Reed College nuclear reactor on the fritz?

    WhooPPSS! (Jack Bog's Blog)

  • Or perhaps your "form rejection" button is on the fritz and you unintentionally wiped everything out.

    In Which We Reveal the Darkest Secret of All

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