Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 19:56:34 -0500

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

Subject: Re: "wig out"

Until David Bergdahl's query about "wig out" a few days ago I had never

come across this term. Now I see it in print in the newspaper _USA Today_,

Dec. 22, 1997, sec. B, p.9/1-4; article title: "Microsoft Case Gets Mired

In Jargon:"

"...'Microsoft is really hoping that people who don't understand the

complexity will wig out,' says

Brett Glass, a computer programmer and consultant for _InfoWorld_.

'They're trying to tie things

into a knot....'"

The meaning of "wig out" here seems to be: "tune out mentally (because of

mind-boggling complexity)."

This, however, is evidently not the meaning of "wig out" as used by

African-Americans; see my ads-l message of 12/21/97 quoting from Clarence

Major's dictionary _From Juba to Jive_. If the speaker of the quote above

(Brett Glass) is not African-American, we would see here the spread of "wig

out" from a purely AA context with an apparent change of meaning. Whether

this new usage takes hold remains to be seen.

--Gerald Cohen