The 1811 slang dictionary defines fice as "a small windy escape backwards, more obvious to the nose than ears; frequently by old ladies charged on their lap-dogs." Compare also Danish fise "to blow, to fart," and obsolete English aske-fise, "fire-tender," literally "ash-blower" (early 15c.), from an unrecorded Norse source, used in Middle English for a kind of bellows, but originally "a term of reproach among northern nations for an unwarlike fellow who stayed at home in the chimney corner" [OED].
1590s, "engine of war consisting of a small, attachable bomb used to blow in doors and gates and breach walls," from French pétard (late 16c.), from French péter "break wind," from Old French pet "a fart," from Latin peditum, noun use of neuter past participle of pedere "to break wind," from PIE root *pezd- "to fart" (see feisty). Surviving in figurative phrase hoist with one's own petard (or some variant) "caught in one's own trap, involved in the danger one meant for others," literally "blown up with one's own bomb," which is ultimately from Shakespeare (1605):
For tis the sport to haue the enginer Hoist with his owne petar ["Hamlet" III.iv.207].
For the verb, see hoist. The thing itself was rendered obsolete by the development of bombs; it seems to have had a reputation for backfiring. Related: Petardier.
1530s, "to break wind without noise," probably altered from obsolete fist, from Middle English fisten "break wind" (see feisty) + frequentative suffix -le. Related: Fizzled; fizzling.
Meaning "make a noise as of a liquid or gas forced out a narrow aperture" is from 1859, "usually with special reference to the weakness and sudden diminution or cessation of such sound" [Century Dictionary], hence the figurative sense "prove a failure, stop abruptly after a more-or-less brilliant start." But this sense is earlier and dates to at least 1847 in American English college slang, along with the noun sense of "failure, fiasco" (1846), also originally U.S. college slang, "a failure in answering an examination by a professor." Barnhart says it is "not considered as derived from the verb." Halliwell ("Archaic and Provincial Words," 1846) has fizzle (v.) as "To do anything without noise," which might connect the college slang with the older word via some notion of mumbled and stifled performance:
In many colleges in the United States, this word is applied to a bad recitation, probably from the want of distinct articulation, which usually attends such performances. It is further explained in the Yale Banger, November 10, 1846: "This figure of a wounded snake is intended to represent what in technical language is termed a fizzle. The best judges have decided that to get just one third of the meaning right constitutes a perfect fizzle." [John Bartlett, "A Collection of College Words and Customs," Cambridge, 1851]