What qualifies as a "Hissy Fit"?

I was recently accused of “throwing a hissy fit”, because my family drove me crazy with incessant bitching (I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh here in IMHO) about the food at a restaurant, so I started ranting about how they always ruin meals like that, etc… Although I was really angry, I can see their point, since it wasn’t that bad after all.
Nevertheless, this incident left me wondering exactly what a “hissy fit” is, so I leave it to you fellow dopers to enlighten me. To you, what qualifies as a “hissy fit”. What kind of behaviour is characteristic of a “hissy fit”? Is incessant ranting and a slightly higher pitch in the voice enough to qualify as a “hissy fit”? Are the “recepients” the ones that qualify it as a “hissy fit” or is there an objective measure.
Please feel free to cite examples.

The subject of a hissy fit is almost always about the person throwing it. “I don’t like something” or “Something is pissing me off”. IMHO, of course.

I believe we are long-lost brothers Lothos.

If you’re having a hissy fit or having conniptions, basically you are over-reacting.

If someone wrecks your car and you start yelling and waving your arms, you are not having a hissy fit.

If you start ranting loudly because your family doesn’t like food at a restaurant, you are having a hissy fit.

It’s not so much what you do, as why.

But hey, I understand. I’m a champion hissy fit thrower.

A conniption is one having hysterics, which is an overwhelming and unmanageable emotion or rage.

A hissy fit is an overreaction to a minor fault bordering on hysterics.

BTW i forgot to add this. Did you know that the medical remedy for hysterics that was prescribed by doctors at the turn of the 20th century is an orgasm? Its where motorized vibrators was invented for, but only doctors could use them.

…maybe that’ll work for a hissy fit too… :slight_smile:

There ya go. Now where the hell did I put that orgasm?


Honestly Guin the only cites I can imagine him pulling up are some classic mugshots of Victorian men rubbing themselves all over with all of thier clothes on. In the corner there’s some guy who’s not doing it and he’s going crazy.

Damn, I just had to take the initiative on this one and see what I could find. Ok, this is a book review in The New England Journal of Medicine that touches on the connection between orgasms, hysterics, and vibrators. Normally, I would try to find something other than a book review, but when I read this, I was sold:


I second Guin. I realise that this being IMHO, there is no need to get too technical, but your qualifiers seem based on XIXth century psychoanalisis and you do present them so factual-like. Besides, I couldn´t get hysterical even if I tried, since I am male.

Where do you think the term comes from though? Hissy Fit, I mean.

Xavier, I knew there seemed like a branch was missing from my family tree!! I knew I couldn´t be the only one. (by the way, is it “ksavie” or “javier”?)

Another issue would be the difference between a Hissy Fit, conniption and a Tantrum. Are they synonims?

I agree with X~Slayer in that there is a difference in intensity between “conniption” and “hissy fit”, but what about “tantrum”. Is the cause the difference between them?

The second dear brother, the second!

Hijacking my own thread…
Is your family from Spain as well? If I have to hear one more time how everything is sooo much better in Spain than here (actually it is, at least in the food department, but don’t mind me :slight_smile: ) I’ll throw another hissy fit!

Saludos y felicidades, hermano.

I think you have to stomp your foot during a hissy fit.

It became a hissy fit when you said they always ruin meals. The first sign of a good hissy fit is going way overboard on your accusations.

Usually when you throw a tantrum, you want something. It works great til people catch on. :wink:

Hissy fit,

DSM V criteria for a clinical “hissy fit:”

  1. attempts at resolution of a problem are seen as useless and the person is now semi-blindly accusing others or offending others.

  2. the intensity of speech, volume, pitch, and pace have increased

  3. kinetic activity increases to include:

    a) shaking of hands
    b) stomping of feet (one or both)
    c) slamming of objects (without breaking anything)
    d) slamming of doors

  4. leaving the room while maintaining involvement in an argument or rant, then returning repeatedly

  5. The event must not meet the criteria for “melt down” “conniption” or “blow out”

  6. the person must maintain some grounding in reality and must be airing grievances that have been stored for more than one week.

  7. the event must cause clinically insignificant (ie: wouldn’t see a therapist for it) impairment in social or emotional functioning.

Guin Check out the book, “The Technology of Orgasm” by Rachel Maines. Comes complete with like 15 pages of references.


I think this is a very good way to recognise a Hissy Fit from other forms.

Does anyone have a WAG about the origin of the term?

**lothos[b/] shamefully realises that he indeed threw a Hissy Fit, since it complied with **greck’s[b/] criteria… :frowning:

What is DSM V, by the way?