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Hissy Fit

Pitchin’ a Hissy Fit

I’ve heard the phrase “hissy fit” all of my life. Most of the time, I’ve heard it used to refer to a woman who has an unreasonable temper tantrum. It’s also said here in the south that a woman doesn’t “have” a hissy fit, but she pitches or throws one.

Pitchin' a Hissy Fit

You will also hear southerners say, “there’s no need to hissy fit about it,” in response to an angry outburst. So, it can also be used as a verb, but, where did it come from?

Where did the phrase “Hissy Fit” come from?

There are several possible origins of the phrase.

  1. Someone in the military may have brought it home from Japan where the term “hisshi” means frantic or desperate. http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/40603/what-is-the-origin-of-hissy-fit

  2. Since it is most commonly used with a tantrum pitched by a woman, it could have come from the word hysterectomy referring to fits of hysterics after the surgery. The word hysteric relates to the womb. This makes perfect sense to me, since the majority of these fits are either pitched by a child or in response to a child – no matter their age!

Pitchin' Hissy Fits3. It could also allude to the actions of an angry cat or (catty) woman who hisses and spits in the midst of a “cat fight.”

Angry Cat

4. Histrionics relate to dramatic behavior and it is said that the word could have come from the stage. It is likely that the very first drama queen was born in one of our southern states.

Drama Queen

5. But, the picture that has always flashed across my mind when someone mentions a hissy fit, is the hissing of a snake right before it strikes. Especially the fact that sometimes you can just be walking through the woods, enjoying the scenery and bam! The snake strikes when you aren’t expecting it. You didn’t see it coming… that’s a true hissy fit where I come from. Crazy.

Beware of Snakes

And here in the South, it is not unusual to experience the wrath of a woman when you just aren’t expecting it; making this the most likely origin of a “hissy fit” in this writer’s opinion.

Regardless, whether the description of a southern woman’s anger is best defined by a frantic Japanese term, an angry cat, a hormonally-imbalanced woman, a drama queen or a poisonous snake; the general consensus is this… BEWARE OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN WIELDING KITCHEN UTENSILS!

Southern Hissy Fit


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Kim Burdette

Kim Burdette


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    March 8, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Ha ha! Love the photo of the girl screaming [I mean pitching a hissy fit] at her computer!

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