Idioms: Heebie Jeebies

Heebie Jeebies
Heebie Jeebies

The term Heebie Jeebies (meaning a feeling of nervousness, fright, or worry, or having the jitters) is widely attributed to cartoonist Billie DeBeck (1890-1942) who also coined “hotsy totsy,” “hot mama”, and other expressions. The first citation of it in print is in his 1923 cartoon in the  October edition of the New York American. “Heebie jeebies caught on quickly and very soon began appearing in many newspapers and works of literature in the USA and, from 1927 onward.”

DeBeck may have taken the expression from the name of a popular 1920′s dance of the same name which also inspired a popular song in 1926, also called “Heebie Jeebies”.

( Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins