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"tossed/thrown into a tizzy"

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 10, 2006

In Reply to: "Tossed/thrown into a tizzy" posted by ESC on October 09, 2006

: : where does the phrase "tossed/thrown into a tizzy" come from?

: Merriam-Webster online says the origin of "tizzy" is unknown. I'll look further. A friend calls it being in a "tizz."

Thrown into a tizzy I've heard, but not tossed. From the OED:
"colloq. (orig. U.S.)...[Of uncertain origin.]

A state of nervous excitement, agitation or worry, a 'flap'; esp. in phr. in a tizzy.
1935 Amer. Speech X. 192/1 The tizzy in which a huge wedding kept society columnists for weeks. 1938 Ladies' Home Jrnl. Oct. 14/2 Maybe it's better for the future of the race to live from daze to daze in a perpetual tizzy like Alix...."

"Tizzy" is still part of the language in good standing, but we also have more colorful synonyms for particular tizzies. "I'm afraid she'll be thrown into a tizzy," comes close to the meaning of "I'm afraid she'll have a cow." Or: "Don't get into a tizzy" can sometimes be replaced by "Don't get your panties into a bunch."
The citations quoted by the OED don't suggest any gender preference in the use the word, but nowadays one tends to think of old-fashioned ladies--aunts and grandmothers--as being particularly subject to tizzies.