9 Grammatical Pitfalls
/vee'b*l-fetz'*/ (Or "veeblefeetzer"?) A purposely nonsensical sounding word applied to any sort of obscure or complicated object, e.g. a piece of computer code, model railroad equipment, auto parts, etc.
The more immediate origin of the word is "Mad" Magazine. In the late 1950s and early 1960s it used the word along the same lines, especially in its send-ups of big business. "North American Veeblefetzer" was the subject of satires of an annual reports, an in-house newsletter, and more. A Veeblefetzer, in their case, was a robot-like device that did something or other.
The more distant source was probably a 19th century yiddish word, possibly with limited usage. In German, "Fetzer" is any contraption, while "Veeble" is a likely corruption of "Webel" -- meaning weaving. Textile mills of this period were crammed with very complicated, wildly active and very loud pieces of machinery.
See also veeblefester.
[veeblefeetzer or veeblefetzer?]