Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 11:33:34 -0500

From: Gregory {Greg} Downing downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]IS2.NYU.EDU

Subject: Re: "wig out"

At 11:08 AM 12/23/97 EST, you wrote:

I always thought it was a playful variation of 'to flip your wig'- going

back to the 80s for me.

Dale Coye

The College of NJ

I think Sheidlower had it -- "to flip one's wig" is from the 30's or so, and

was later put through the beatnik lens of "to [verb] out" in the 50's, which

then passed into the larger speech-community. If "flip one's wig" originated

in the early 30's or so, one wonders whether it was generated by the visual

imagery of motion-picture cartoons, which in their "sound" versions were

coming into their own in the early 30's -- or, on the other hand, did the

phrase grow from the idea of visually portraying a cartoon character's

surprise or excitement (etc.) by having its hair (etc.) flip into the air

and then fall back onto the head. A chicken and egg question, perhaps.

Gregory {Greg} Downing, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]