A question from December 2011 asked What is the social context of "pizzazz"?. I'm curious about the word's etymology. I checked some reference books, but they showed very little agreement about the origin of the term, as the following extracts indicate.
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1981):
Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition (Simon & Schuster, 1983):
[probably echoic of exuberant cry]
Brewer's Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Phrase and Fable (1992):
US slang from the 1960s for flamboyant energy and style. Originally a show-business term, it is now applied to anyone or anything having glamour or flair. It is thought to derive from the sound of a racing car's engine.
R. L. Chapman and B. A. Kipfer, Dictionary of American Slang, Third Edition (1995):
[origin unknown; perhaps echoically suggested by piss, ass, and piss and vinegar]
Encarta World English Dictionary, 1999):
[Mid-20thC. The origin of this word is uncertain, but it may have been an invention of Diana Vreeland who was a fashion editor for the publication Harper's Bazaar during the 1930s.]
The New Oxford American English Dictionary (2001):
—ORIGIN said to have been invented by Diana Vreeland, fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar in the 1930s.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2003):
[origin unknown] (1937)
A Google search turned up a few other interesting points. First, Google found a copy of Harper's Bazaar from 1937 (volume 71, part 1) that supposedly contains multiple instances of pizazz. Unfortunately, only one snippet shows text including the word, and the sentence in that instance is practically illegible except for the phrase "will put the pizazz into tramping and driving."
Second, Google finds a single, seemingly coincidental instance of pizazz from the October 1907 issue of Motor (The National Monthly Magazine of Motoring), in a jokey article by M. Worth Colwell called "The Motor Affairs of Pharoah—II":
And there was a tower which was like the tower of Babel, and upon it was written an inscription that said: 'What made the leaning Tower of Pizazz lean, whereas it was once fat?'
And third, in a snippet from a book called It's a Woman's Business (1939), Estelle Hamburger claims that the original source of the term wasn't Harper's Bazaar, but the Harvard Lampoon [combined snippets]:
"Pizazz," a sizzling word first used in the Harvard Lampoon, spotted by Harper's Bazaar, is scooped up by Bonwit Teller in an ad of fashions with that extra bit of something, "the scotch in the soda — Pizazz!"
Can anyone shed further light on the source and etymology of pizzazz?