Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 10:20:03 -0500

From: Jesse T Sheidlower jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PANIX.COM

Subject: wig out

I hadn't been reading the messages in this thread, so

excuse me for jumping in so late. I'm surprised that

many people seem unfamiliar with the expression _wig

out,_ or with its age--I've always regarded it as a

stereotypical 1960s term, along with _groovy_ and the


As with _groovy,_ _wig out_ was originally a jazz-world

expression. I don't have access to our W files right

now but there's no question that the word was in use

in the early 1950s at latest. It appears in _American

Speech_ XXX in a list of Wayne State U. slang in 1955.

The meaning runs the usual gamut--'to be excited',

'to lose control', etc. The sense that Jerry Cohen

quotes from USA Today, apparently meaning 'tune out',

is an anomaly in my experience.

I don't think of _wig out_ as being AAVE. It probably

does come from _flip one's lid/wig,_ which we have in

HDAS from the early 1930s.

Jesse Sheidlower

Random House Reference