What Does Hissy Fit Mean?

Hissy Fit Meaning

Definition: An outburst of anger, often in a childlike manner.

Another similar expression is temper tantrum.

Origin of Hissy Fit

This expression originated in the early 1900s and, at first, was simply hissy. It may have developed from the word hysterical. Alternatively, it might come from the actions of an angry person who yells and hisses while throwing a fit.

It later became hissy fit sometime from the 1980s onward.

Examples of Hissy Fit

define hissy fitIn the following example, two friends are discussing their young children.

Kerry: Do you ever take your son to the grocery store with you?

Christine: I used to do it all the time. But when he got to be old enough to walk, he started misbehaving too much.

Kerry: Yeah, my son just threw a hissy fit the last time I took him to the store. He wanted some unhealthy snack food, and when I told him I wouldn’t buy it for him, he just started screaming and throwing things out of the cart.

Christine: Ugh! Temper tantrums are the worst!

what is a hissy fitIn this dialogue, two friends are discussing their favorite show.

Arlena: I can’t believe they killed off my favorite character! This show isn’t even worth watching anymore.

Nyima: I’m sorry he died. But I want to say that I think you’re handling his death very well.

Arlena: Really? I just threatened to stop watching totally.

Nyima: I know, but you’re still pretty calm. If my favorite character died, I’d throw a hissy fit! I’d start screaming and punch the wall!

Arlena: You would not!

Nyima: I might! I might cry too.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a college football coach whose antics angered others in his profession. The other people were so upset that they were visibly and verbally frustrated.

  • That’s just one of the cool things Harbaugh has done. He took the Wolverines to Florida last year, prompting a hissy fit by the entire Southeastern Conference. He’s had a campout and climbed trees to woo recruits. –USA Today

This excerpt is about a political consultant who became angry during election results.

  • While appearing on Fox News as an analyst on the election night in 2012, the Republican politico threw a hissy fit shortly before midnight ET as the conservative news network projected President Obama winning his second term. –USA Today


A hissy fit is an uncontrollable display of frustration and anger. It is common for children, or immature adults.