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.


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

Perhaps from German Fritz, diminutive of the name Friedrich.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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


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    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.

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

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

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  • 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 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."

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  • 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.

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