What Does Pitch A Fit Mean?

Pitch a Fit Meaning

Definition: To become irrationally angry and act out.

Two synonymous expressions include to throw a fit and to have a fit.

Origin of Pitch a Fit

If a person pitches a fit, he or she may scream loudly, throw objects, or even kick something. People commonly use this expression to describe the behavior of toddlers or anyone who is immature.

This idiom’s etymology is somewhat unclear. However, digital records show that the earliest variant to appear is have a fit. This expression appears back as far as the 1600s.

Fit likely comes from medical convulsions, such as those from epilepsy. In the past, people may have mistaken these physical ailments for mental problems.

By around the year 1900, throw a fit started to appear as a synonym. Perhaps this is because one definition of throw is to cause to enter a specific condition.

In the later part of the 1900s, pitch began to appear as a substitute for throw. Probably this is because pitch and throw are synonyms in the sense of throwing a ball.

Examples of Pitch a Fit

throwing a fit definitionTwo friends are discussing the new boss that one of them has at work.

Dan: How is your new boss doing?

Kira: I don’t think he’ll last very long. He has a very bad temper. For example, he told everyone he wanted to have a meeting at 3 p.m. He got confused and thought he told everyone 2 p.m. When no one showed up, he pitched a fit! He was screaming and throwing things.

pitching a fit meaningThe following example involves two women who are eating lunch together.

Gertrude: Do you see those diners at the table across the restaurant?

Ruby: Yes, why?

Gertrude: They ate all their food, but now they are complaining that it didn’t taste good. They’re pitching a fit so that they don’t have to pay.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about a woman who had a job interview and did not get a job offer. The man who interviewed her gave her some advice about her writing to help her do better in future job interviews. She didn’t appreciate his candor.

  • Now, if she’d taken his advice, her writing would be much better for the next job that required a writing sample. Instead, she pitched a fit. –Chicago Tribune

This excerpt is from an article about a character on a popular show.

  • In an earlier season of the show, Hannah might have turned up for the meeting high on opium tea, or pitched a fit, or made a ludicrously bad argument. But now, she’s tough and reasonable, mixing emotional rhetoric with smart logical points. –Chicago Tribune


The phrase pitch a fit is another way to say to throw a temper tantrum. Similar expressions are throwing a fit and having a fit.