Definition of fritz in US English:



in phrase go" or "be on the fritz
North American
  • (of a machine) stop working properly.

    • ‘My movie clip software is on the fritz, so unfortunately, there is no new movie clip this month.’
    • ‘For weeks the phones were on the fritz, and there were too few people to handle too many offers to help.’
    • ‘The heat was on the fritz and the faucet in the washroom was never really able to shut off.’
    • ‘It's not like an electrical grid is going to go on the fritz tomorrow and leave a corner of the country in the dark, right?’
    • ‘The half-height cubicle they show you is completely lit by a fluorescent light which is on the fritz.’
    • ‘As I mentioned before, one of the two glass elevators seemed to be on the fritz for about half of the voyage.’
    • ‘Voting machines were on the fritz, and the office received constant calls about voting procedure.’
    • ‘The pump is vital to storing enough water to last during spells when the water is shut off, and it was on the fritz.’
    • ‘Our electrical equipment went on the fritz and never came back.’
    • ‘The next time your water heater goes on the fritz, you can blame Adam for your aggravation.’
    • ‘Their espresso machine was on the fritz so we opted for the less than stellar regular coffee.’
    • ‘First my printer went bonkers, and then my cable modem went on the fritz.’
    • ‘My cable modem at home is on the fritz, so there probably won't be any more blog posts until I get it fixed.’
    • ‘My scanner seems to be on the fritz, so I'll have to scan them at work on Saturday instead.’
    • ‘Then Lea mentioned that the fridge was on the fritz, so I jury-rigged it again.’
    • ‘I'd display some pictures, but my camera's been on the fritz since a trip to the Virgin Islands.’
    • ‘We need to get the air conditioning repaired because it's been on the fritz for three weeks.’
    • ‘Joe's little silver Volkswagen was on the fritz and the two of them had it parked in my dad's driveway (which is separate from our regular driveway).’
    • ‘Just days before a big family dinner, my oven went on the fritz.’
    • ‘Years from now, when your state-of-the-art PC is on the fritz, you might have to call your local molecular biologist for tech support.’


Early 20th century: said to be a use of Fritz, with allusion to cheap German imports into the US before the First World War.