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.
Random House Reference
jester[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]panix.com