phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Earwig

Posted by ESC on February 26, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Wigging Out posted by Wig Wam on February 26, 2004

: : Does anybody know what the origin of this phrase is? It means to freak out, or go temporarily crazy. That's all I know.

: : T

: My guess: it is derived from the phrase "Flip your wig"

: I've also heard it used to mean "high", as in "We droipped acid at the party and were really wigging out..."

WIGGED OUT -- "Californiaspeak. The psychobabble of Marin County, California.picked up many strands from the voices of the counterculture, as well as Black English, jazz, rock music, and sports. This lingo, in use well in the 70s, was typified by these recurring expressions (such as).wig out, to go nuts or have a fit of anger or hysterics." From "Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley" by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov (Oxford University Press, New York, 1997).

An earlier Flexner book says, "wig has meant a rebuke in English since 1804 and to scold, reprimand, since 1829; wigging, 1830. It's from 'earwig,' to pester.from the earwig insect." From "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).

A third reference says "wigged out" means "very high on drugs." From the "Wordsworth Book of Euphemism" by Judith S. Neaman and Carole G. Silver (Wordsworth Editions, Hertfordshire, 1995)