Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 24 16:07:33 UTC 2013

On Jun 24, 2013, at 3:26 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:

> I do not know if this is relevant to "pizzazz", but I found a short
> discussion of the word "pizzazza" in conjunction with "pizzazz" in a
> book about word origins. Further below is a cite for "pizzazza" in the
> baseball and culinary domains.
> Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1988) by William and Mary Morris
> [Begin excerpt]
> Not so, reported William D. Kahl of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, who
> remembered the word from an early comic strip. "Pizzazza was a magic
> ointment invented by a comic-strip character which would make any
> mechanical device, whether broken down or not, get up and go. It may
> also be that the product could be taken internally with similar
> results, though I'm not sure. I recall also that in the late 1920s the
> expression 'put some pizzazza on it' was used by my father and his
> cronies in much the same sense that we younger people said 'put a
> nickel in it.' When I asked my father the meaning of pizzazza, he gave
> us the comic-strip explanation."
> [End excerpt]
> In the cite below "pizzazza" is a sandwich and also, in effect, a
> magic ingredient placed on a baseball.
> [ref] 1931 February 14, New York Evening Post, The Hot Stove League by
> Fred Lieb,
> Quote Page 9, Column 3, New York. (Old Fulton)[/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> Invented the "Pizzazza" Sandwich
> "Ossie" Schreckenghost,
> called Schreck for short, was
> almost as colorful as the Rube. He
> was a fitting battery partner for Wad-
> dell; Schreck was just one degree less
> nutty than the great left-hander. Dryden
> liked to describe what he termed
> Ossie's "pizzazza" sandwich. For those
> unacquainted with the delights of a
> "pizzazza," it was a thick smear of
> limburger between two slices of pump-
> ernickel, liberally sprinkled with
> onions.
> Dryden used to tell how Schreck
> would anoint his glove with what was
> left of the "pizzazza." When such an
> improved baseball was pitched with all
> of Waddell's speed and power behind
> it, what could it do but strike out rival
> batsmen? Opposing batters couldn't
> see it in the first place and the scent
> drove them away from the plate.
> [End excerpt]
Useful deterrent against all hitters but Mike Pizzazza.


The American Dialect Society -

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