Posted by ESC on September 10, 2001
In Reply to: On the Fritz posted by Bruce Kahl on September 10, 2001
: My father used to use this expression to describe something that is not working properly or is broken and I recently heard it in a film or on tv.
: All my sources come up nil on this.
: I did see one thread about a blinking light bulb as something about to break or broken.
: It seems Germanic but the English translation for fritz is Alexander.
ON THE FRITZ -- Out of order; broken. Fritz is the German nickname for Friedrich and, during World War I it came to stand for Germans in general. Considering America's distaste for Germany at that time, the expression may have sprung from the notion that if there was wrongdoing, the Germans must have had a hand in it. This is speculation, however, and one must note that 'Webster's Third International Dictionary' says of the expression, 'origin unknown.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).