As we recently learned from a Lexicon Valley podcast, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the heebie-jeebies as “a feeling of discomfort, apprehension or depression ... the jitters.” In 1923, the phrase was coined and popularized not through the radio or stage, but by Billy DeBeck. Of course! Wait, who? DeBeck was a cartoonist who penned Barney Google, a popular comic during the 1920s. It was so popular that songs were written about dear Barney, and the term heebie-jeebie in particular inspired a song called “Heebie-Jeebies” by Louis Armstrong. Him, you’ve heard of. That song in turn, inspired a short-lived dance craze called, you guessed it, the Heebie-Jeebie.
In the video above, we break down the steps of the Heebie-Jeebie so that you can ... impress your friends.