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Re: Hissy fits

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 08, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Conniption fit posted by R. Berg on July 08, 2005

: : : : : : : : What is the meaning and origin of " kanipshin fit ".

: : : : : : : From dictionary.com:
: : : : : : : con·nip·tion
: : : : : : : n. Informal
: : : : : : : A fit of violent emotion, such as anger or panic. Also called conniption fit.

: : : : : : : [Origin unknown.]

: : : : : : Which is more serious a conniption fit or a hissy fit?

: : : : : To my mind (other minds may differ), the two are similar, and a conniption fit is more serious. Hissy fits are more showy and superficial. We call an outburst a hissy fit if it's way out of proportion to what occasioned it.

: : : :
: : : : I think there is probably a difference in the human context. A hissy fit is aimed at someone, generally. The person having it wants at least one other person to know how he or she feels, which is at the minimum really ticked off. A conniption is a lot more internalized, I suspect, although in some cases doubtless there is a tendency to find someone to blame for that about which one is having the conniption. I hope that was intelligible. SS

: : : Nowadays one doesn't worry that someone else will have a conniption or conniption fit. One is more likely to be concerned lest someone else "have a cow." (Hey, Smokey, good illustration of the subjunctive mood.) SS

: : At risk for being deemed a sexist, I have always known the term hissy fit to relate to the female gender. I have never heard it used in relation to a male.

: Hey, Smokey, indeed. Subjunctive, yes, but have you parsed "One is more likely to be concerned lest someone else 'have a cow'"? I doubt that "to be concerned" and "lest [+ clause]" fit together that way.

: Steve E, I think I've seen hissy fits attributed to men, but no example of that use comes to mind at the moment. ~rb

I didn't really want to say it, but I have more than once seen a hissy fit thrown by someone not of the female gender. As for "concerned lest," there must be wiser heads around than mine. Like yours, for instance. When it comes to grammar, I'm just a farm boy who never took an English course after grade school (except English-language literature in the 11th grade). SS