On the fritz

Posted by R. Berg on May 05, 2003

In Reply to: Out of whack posted by Michael Scullin on May 05, 2003

: Anyone have a clue where the phrase "out of whack", meaning "out of order", comes from? Is it because to put it back in order, you give it a whack?

: And how about the equally cryptic ""on the fritz"? Does this have to do with anti-German sentiment during WWII, or could it be onomatopaeic, because some things make a noise like "frrrttzz" when they go out of order?

The "frrrttzz" hypothesis seems as good as any other.