wigged out

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wigged out

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Oct 20, 2004 12:58 pm


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wigged out

Post by Archived Reply » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:13 pm

Raquel, WIGGED OUT is an originally U.S. expression from the 1950s (still used), which probably started as cool talk for jazz musicians, but which has its roots in the 18th century. The ‘wig’ words have several meaning and in some senses almost look like Janus words (a word which is its own antonym).

WIG OUT verb [expression from 1950s cool talk from jazz musicians and still in use]: 1) to lose control, flip out, freak out, to have a breakdown, become mentally unbalanced, lose one’s head, lose one’s sanity: thus ‘wigged out,’ eccentric, over-emotional. From the idea of ‘flipping one’s wig,’ ‘flipping one’s lid, ‘losing one’s head.’ < “. . . whose guiding genius, Brian Wilson, spent years wigging out in a sand box.”—Rolling Stone> <Kearney was going to wig out when the expense voucher for $100 worth of cocaine came in.” (1978)—Joseph Gores> 2) (originally jazz) to enjoy oneself, lose one’s inhibitions. 3) to excite, thrill, become ecstatic, enjoy oneself very much [derived from the verb ‘to wig.’] <“The first time I read ‘The collected stories I wigged out.’—Saturday Review>

WIGGED OUT adjective (originally U.S.) 1 [1950s-60s] (drugs) intoxicated by a drug. 2) [1950s and still in use] eccentric, insane, deluded, out of touch.

WIG verb 1) [late 18th century and still in use]: 1) to scold, to reprimand, to dress down (to give a WIGGING – 1813). The reference may be to dislodging or ruffling someone’s wig, or from a reproof by a BIGWIG (early 18th century, powerful person, often a politician or bureaucrat) or wigged superior where the scolder uses quasi-judicial authority. <1789: ‘Diary’ by J. Woodforde 1 Feb. (1927) III., page 81: “Thomas Carr dined with our Folks in Kitchen. Gave him a tolerable good Wigg.”> 2) [U.S. 1950s and still in use] (U.S.): to become nervous, hysterical, overly stressed, mentally unbalanced. 3) [1950s and still in use] (U.S.) to play jazz music. 4) [1950s and still in use] (U.S.) to be in good spirits, to enjoy [figurative uses of the noun ‘wig,’ the head, the brain or its functions]

WIG noun: 1) [18th century and still in use] the head, the brain or its functions. 2) late 18th century–1900s] a severe scolding, a telling-off (see ‘a wigging) [? from the ‘bigwig’ who might deliver one, or the wearing of Standard English ‘wigs’ by admonitory judges] 3) [19th century] a dignitary, literally one who wears a wig for professional reasons (and in the 18th century most important people wore wigs). 4) [1990s] a barrister

WIGGY adjective [1960s and still in use]: 1) odd, bizarre, unpleasant, disturbing, crazy, weird, strange. <“Things were wiggy.”—Robert Stone> <“. . . neither a wiggy sexual patient . . . nor a kohl-eyed tough cookie.”—Vogue> 2) pleasing, enjoyable, exciting and up to date, far out, cool. <“But I have some really wiggy experiences.”—Dayton Daily News> 3) (U.S. drugs) intoxicated with narcotics 3) intoxicated or using narcotics, out of it, spaced-out, wigged out.< “one of whom is so wiggy she got fired from her job”—Newsweek>.

(Facts on File encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Chapman’s Dictionary of American Slang, Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms)

Ken G – January 21, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Re: wigged out

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:28 pm

Here’s one from my foot-high, to-do pile of words, phrases, and quotes:
<2011 “. . . Charlie Sheen [[actor fired from the sitcom Two and a Half Men]] is still careening around the mediasphere. . . giving America what it wants: wig-out interviews, a goddess harem, temper tantrums . . .”—Newsweek, 21 March, page3>

Ken – January 13, 2012 (not hair-pieced out)
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Re: wigged out

Post by trolley » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:40 am

As kids, we used "wigged" to mean anything between overreacted and totally crazy.
"When I told her that I'd be late, she wigged."
"I'd wig if that happened to me."
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Re: wigged out

Post by petruso » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:22 pm

I'm a 60-something jazz fan, primarily of Bebop and Cool. I read the phrase, "Man, that is one wigged-out cat!" probably 30 years ago in a reminiscence of a prominent period musician (perhaps Sun Ra or Monk) and have always liked the cadence of it.
This morning, listening to a particularly complex solo by Coltrane, I Googled the phrase, which brought me to WW. Browsed around on it for a few minutes and decided to join. But I digress...
I defer to those who understand it as signifying a mental or emotional breakdown, flipout/freakout, etc., but in the context of the review I read, it was a compliment. "Wigged-out cat" brings to mind for me the old stereotyped late '40s Village jazz musician package: beret, sunglasses, laconic, smiling. To be precise: Cool.
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