Date: Thu, 19 May 1994 09:54:48 CDT From: Randy Roberts Subject: Re: Uncl: Question Most of the materials Peter Tamony collected for fritz, etc., suggest a relationship to the Germans during WWI. Note the WWI song "Keep Your Head Down Allemand" which is subtitled "Fritzi Boy." The earliest cite I found, however, comes from the cartoonist TAD (Thomas Aloysius Dorgan) on 15 September 1916, San Francisco Call and Post: "What was the mistake?" "Oh, I just told the judge that his joint would go on the fritz if I ever left." Another cartoon by TAD of 25 November 1920, same newspaper, read: "As Shakespeare said, 'Prices like the Ritz, service on the Fritz.'" Other examples are Fritz defined as one of the many names applied by British troops to the Germans who oppose them. "Recruit's Primer of Trench Idiom" in Literary Digest, 27 October 1917, pp. 64-65. On the fritz, meaning in bad condition, from George Milburn's The Hobo's Hornbook, New York, 1930, p. 284. To put the fritz on, meaning to jinx, is used in Collier's for 29 August 1931, p. 26. David Maurer in American Speech of February 1935 noted the term fritzer, meaning something which is not genuine or will not pay. Nothing definitive, but hopefully helpful. Randy Roberts University of Missouri-Columbia robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________ Subject: Uncl: Question Author: RREYNOL%TULSAJC.BITNET[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] at INTERNET-EXT Date: 5/18/94 12:44 PM Date: 18 May 94 11:36:59 UTC From: To: Subject: Uncl: Question From: Does anyone out there know where "on the fritz" originated? Curious to find out. Thanks.