1670s, shortened form of periwig. Meaning "person who wears a wig (professionally)" is from 1828.
1826, "supply with a wig," from wig (n.). The earlier verb was bewig (see bewigged). The meaning "to behave hysterically" (usually with out) is attested from 1955, perhaps from notion in flip one's wig. Compare dash my wig!, a former mild imprecation (1797), also wigs on the green (1856), Irish colloquial for "a fight or rumble" (because wigs are likely to get detached from owners in such an event). The verb also had a colloquial sense of "scold severely," attested by 1829, perhaps related to these. Related: Wigged; wigging.
updated on December 04, 2020