Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fizzle n.2

[fizzle v.2 ]

1. (US campus) a (partial) failure in a recitation or examination.

[US]Yale Banger 10 Nov. in Hall (1856) 202: The best judges have decided, that to get just one third of the meaning right constitutes a perfect fizzle.
[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 202: fizzle [...] a bad recitation, probably from the want of distinct articulation which usually attends such performances.
[US]L.H. Bagg Four Years at Yale 631: So, too, a good scholar may help a poor one [...] by swapping papers with him, though by doing it he ensures for himself a fizzle instead of a rush.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 35: fizzle, n. A poor recitation.

2. (orig. US) a failure; thus fizzled adj.

[US]Tomahawk Nov. n.p.: Here he could fizzles mark, without a sigh, And see orations unregarded die [F&H].
National Intelligencer 8 Dec. n.p.: The speech was as complete a fizzle as has ever disgraced Congress, and we hope sincerely the honourable member from Massachussetts will take the lesson to heart.
[US]A. Bensell dliary in Barth All Quiet on the Yamhill (1959) 25 Mar. 5: Made a grand fizzle as usual.
[UK]Sportsman 29 Sept. 2/1: Notes on News [...] [The centenary] in honour of ‘the divine Williams,’ as our French friends call Shakespeare, was a miserable ‘fizzle’.
[US]Democratic Press (Ravenna, OH) 28 Sept. 2/3: This ended the grand Radical fizzle.
[UK]Sportsman (London) ‘Notes on News’ 27 May 4/1: [quoting US press] The great fight [...] is a fizzle [...] And no other word than ‘fizzle’ —although wo frankly confess neither know its actual derivation nor its direct meaning could be more justly applied to the ‘barney’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 8 Dec. 6/2: The whole affair may turn out a fizzle.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Mar. 22/3: Mrs. Langtry’s fizzle is due, in great part, to her having tried to play a too naughty piece in too nice a way.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Merry Month of May’ in Punch 16 May 229/1: Nature’s a fraud and a fizzle.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 July 15/2: The Pingara fizzle gives little encouragement to take a short price about any of Miller’s horses for next Saturday’s steeplechase.
[US]Anaconda Standard (MT) 29 Sept. 4/3: She promised that the next time he tried to kill herself she would not make a fizzle of it.
[UK]E.W. Hornung Amateur Cracksman (1992) 88: It may end in fizzle, so I would rather not speak about it to either of you yet.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 1 Dec. 1: [pic caption] a fizz wedding that wasn’t a fizzle.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 200: Socially, no less than matrimonially, Contango was a complete fizzle.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 28 Oct. 1/1: The Barber King has again taken the knock [and] the Tommies he took in ought to have remembered his former fizzle.
[US]A. Jennings Beating Back in Hamilton (1952) 93: If the trainmen [...] watch the baggage platform; you risk a complete fizzle.
Day Book(Chicago) 21 Sept. n.p.: [headline] Mrs Regina A. Klipper Angry at Fizzle of Gang Yarn.
[US]N. Anderson Hobo 245: He returned half of it with the statement that the co-operative wood yard was a fizzle.
[US]W.N. Burns One-Way Ride 160: He’ll make a fizzle of the job, of course.
[US]J. Conroy Disinherited 140: It ain’t my fault we ain’t got younguns, you little fizzle!
[US]B. Appel Sweet Money Girl 97: Frieda was smart to turn me down. Our marriage would’ve been a fizzle.
[UK]Oz 2 18/3: Rubirosa was a fizzle in bed Latin beauty says.
[US]Goldman & Fuller Charlie Company 283: The lesson was a fizzle.
[US]D. Hecht Skull Session 486: What about all that wasted potential, Paulie? Such a bright child, such a fizzled adulthood.

3. (US) a minor quarrel.

[UK]C. Mackay Life and Liberty in America 105: Among the pure Americanisms may be cited the following: [...] Fizzle, a slight quarrel or controversy.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 July 12/1: [H]e has no doubt that next morning when in her sober senses, Nora would return to her conjugal and maternal duties. So that the fizzle with which the ‘Doll’s House’ finishes is simply the result of fizz; but Torvald was too drunk to notice it.

4. (US Und.) an escape.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum 32: ‘The cove made a fizzle,’ the fellow escaped.