phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

On the Fritz

Posted by Moo on August 27, 2002

Check out this article for my conjecture about "On the Fritz".

General Werner von Fritsch was an accused homosexual during Hitler's reign of terror. It is possible that, somehow, the news migrated to USA. I have heard this used by my parents and others in our area for as long as I can remember (I live in Maryland, near the city of Baltimore.) And also, by nature of Baltimoreans not being very adroit at German, the "sch" was replaced with a "z". Hence, "the computer is on the fritz" means that it is behaving abnormally.

I realize that I have little evidence to back up my claim, but if anyone has any other suggestions I welcome them.

On a side note, if anyone knows anything about middle-eastern culture, I have been wondering about this one for quite awhile: what is the significance of the popular Turkish phrase which effectively translates out to "It's so crowded that you couldn't toss a cat!", and why do they specifically refer to the action of tossing a feline?