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What Is a Conniption Fit?

A conniption fit is described as a sudden and often violent show of emotion that is usually brought on by a shocking event or unexpected news. A conniption is different from a tantrum. The latter happens with little or no provocation while a former is a response to a some external factor, usually some kind of bad news. A conniption fit can be characterized by a tirade, which is coupled by frantic gestures and signs of rage and frustration. There are people who, when undergoing a conniption fit, cannot speak and can just stutter or mutter something incomprehensible.

The term conniption has hazy origins. No one knows exactly where it originated but there are sources that say it was first used in the 1830s. There are some who believe the word “conniption” is a bastardization or corruption of the word “corruption.” In the past, “corruption” also meant to feel anger or sadness. There are some who think that “conniption” is just a nonsense word that sought to give it a mock origin in the Latin language. Another possible origin of the word is with an old English word, canapsha, which also had roughly the same meaning as conniption. Lastly, some people think conniption is based on the Yiddish language.

The term “conniption fit” is sometimes used by people in exchange for other terms like a “hissy fit” or “temper tantrum”. But even if these terms describe a sudden outburst of emotion, each one also has a subtle difference that, if defined, will describe very different emotions.

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