Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
mid-15c., probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse hvoesa "to hiss," Danish hvæse) cognate with Old English hwæst "act of blowing," hwosan "to cough," from an imitative root. Related: Wheezed; wheezing. The noun is first recorded 1834.
v. wheezed, wheez·ing, wheez·es
To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound. n.
A wheezing sound.
An old joke; chestnut: even remembered a wheeze I pulled/ this tired little wheeze
[1864+; origin unknown; perhaps fr a wheezing delivery used by clowns in telling jokes; the earliest attested use refers to a circus clown's joke]