Definition of fizzle in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfizəl/


[no object]
1End or fail in a weak or disappointing way: their threatened revolt fizzled out at yesterday’s meeting
More example sentences
  • People associated with the tourist trade say that the tourist boom has fizzled out and occupancy rate has fallen to eight to ten per cent.
  • During the final half-hour, it fizzled out as a contest, neither side able to break the deadlock.
  • But these movements all fizzled out, for two reasons.
peter out, die off, ease off, cool off, flatline;
tail off, wither away, wind down
1.1Make a feeble hissing or spluttering sound: the strobe lights fizzled and flickered
More example sentences
  • The lights fizzled, and then a loud snap reached everyone's ears and the light just above Darren's head jerked and fell downward in a wild dance.
  • Just that quick the light fizzled and she was back in the hall.
  • She lost her race with the lights though, as the last one, far down the path from where she was, flickered twice and fizzled.


1A failure: in the end the fireworks were a fizzle
More example sentences
  • So, to revise the theme of the day, it's a day of fizzles.
informal flop, washout, letdown, dead loss, snafu
1.1A feeble hissing or spluttering sound: the electric fizzle of the waves
More example sentences
  • For a second there was only the electric fizzle, the sounds of hospital life going on in the background.
  • A fizzle sounded, and everybody turned their heads.
  • There was a fizzle, and then a pop, and finally a clattering ring.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'break wind quietly'): probably imitative (compare with fizz), but perhaps related to Middle English fist (see feisty). Current senses date from the 19th century.

  • feisty from late 19th century:

    A small farting dog is the surprising idea behind the word feisty, meaning ‘spirited and exuberant’. It comes from the earlier and now obsolete word feist or fist meaning ‘small dog’, from fisting cur or fisting hound. This was a derogatory term for a lapdog, deriving from the old verb fist, meaning ‘to break wind’. Fist may also be the source of fizzle, which in the 16th century meant ‘to break wind quietly’. Fart itself goes back to Old English times and was formerly a more respectable word than it is now—Geoffrey Chaucer used it in The Canterbury Tales.

Words that rhyme with fizzle

chisel, drizzle, frizzle, grizzle, mizzle, sizzle, swizzle, twizzle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fiz·zle

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.