Cross-cultural onomatopoeia

My friend and fellow scrivener Steve Van Beek lives in the area currently cordoned off by the security forces—right there in the middle of both the political heat and Bangkok’s worst heat wave in years. He’s waiting to see whether a repairman can get through to fix his ailing air-conditioner.

In passing, Steve also tells me the expression “to be on the fritz” dates from the very outset of the 20th century, and probably derives from the sound of an electrical item about to go blooey. It’s occurred to me that something similar may account for the Thai expression fai kaphrip, which refers to a light bulb that starts to flicker and frizzle. Or is it only my ear that assimilates “fritz” and “kaphrip”?

But what about “to go blooey”? Where did that come from?

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