Date: Sun, 21 Dec 1997 12:31:50 -0500

From: Gerald Cohen gcohen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UMR.EDU

Subject: Re: "wig out"

On l2/18/97 David Bergdahl asked about to "wig out," adding: "I've met

the term in novels by AA authors written in the 70's and early 80's. I

don't know if it's still current."

Information on this topic can be found in Clarence Major's _Juba to

Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang_ (Viking Pr., 1994):

"WIG, n. (1930s-1960s) a man or woman's natural hair that has been

processed or straightened; one's mentality, brain, skull, thoughts.

WIG, n. (1930s-1950s) in the jazz world, a highly respected musician,

respected because he or she 'wigs' people out--reaching them on a mental

level and causing reflection, rather than exciting them to dance.

WIG [ONE] OUT; WIGGED [ONE] OUT (1950s-1960s) in jazz, to excite or

thrill; respond with great enthusiasm; used also in the same way in street

culture--to delight, etc. Example: 'Man, Bags [Milt Jackson] really wigs me

out when he starts tapping that vibraphone like he's making tender love to


WIGGED OUT, adj. (1950s-1960s) to be extremely high on narcotics.

WIGGING, v. (1940S-1950s) in jazz, playing unusually innovative

music; talking strangely or doing something considered 'weird.'"

----Meanwhile, Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow's autobiography _Really the Blues_

(co-authored with Bernard Wolfe; 1946) presents in its glossary:

"WIG - head or hair

WIG TRIG - idea"

--Gerald Cohen