How Pap and Granny Make Kraut
Tales from the Tree - from 50 WNC Women Writers

Appalachian Sayings - Conniption Fit

Conniption fit

conniption fit = an angry tirade


Usually someone either pitches a conniption fit, throws a conniption fit or has a conniption fit. I've always been too backward to pitch a conniption fit in public...but I sometimes pitch them in my mind. 


p.s. A lot of folks have been asking if The Pressley Girls have any shows booked for this summer. The answer is YES! You can see the list on their website here. If you make it out to one of the shows please come up and say hello, we would love to talk to you. 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Just got back in town again....
Conniption fit...was always used when the fit progressed to some far out demon filled world!
Conniption...was a gesture not likeable but sort of taken in and expected but no where near wild!
The term hissy was used to describe "older folks" reactions to something!
Hissy...was "Don't tell him you are looking for his pocket knife, he'll have a hissy!"
Hissy fit...was "Don't tell him you borrowed and lost his Barlow knife or he'll have one more "hissy fit!"
Tantrum...was used for young children, that were usually tired or hungry and was over quickly!
Holy Tantrum...was akin to something from another world sometimes looking like demon possessed, something you would never expect from your child...skeery! ha

It is rather late - that kind of day - but thought I'd throw out my 2 cents: Both sides of my growing up family used "conniption" by itself , as an adjective for fit (or maybe a hyphenated word), and with the addition of the adjective "wall-eyed". We also use "hissy fit"; but it's slightly different. A "hissy fit" is usually thrown by spoiled children or spoiled and silly so-called adults and is completely unreasonable. A conniption fit is thrown by someone who probably has good reason to be to be upset but is having trouble convincing others of the validity of his (or her) argument all the while increasingly struggling to do so. A "wall-eyed conniption fit" takes the intensity to the level of bulging veins and bulging eyeballs.

Tipper--Thanks to most unwelcome computer issues, I'm late to the Appalachia dinner table today. I've always equated conniption and hissy, with conniption fit and red-eyed hissy simply being extensions of those. I had not previously heard Ann Applegarth's "wall-eyed hissy," but she can consider it duly appropriated for literary use. I think it is more expressive than red-eyed hissy.
Jim Casada

I love the picture! Way down south we have conniption fits also, but more common is the hissy fit,but its all OK ,as long as its followed by" well, bless her heart!"

My mother used to say "She had a spell" instead. I say it too.

The look on that young'un's face says that she's already passed 'conniption' (quietly) and is fixin' to scour yore plow...

Heard conniption and hissy fits.Still hear these occasionally.One I don't hear much anymore is,She had a calf with a barbed wire tail. Larry Griffith E.KY.

Today's post and its comments awoke the mathematician in me. If conniption = fit then conniption times fit=conniption², or fit². Either one of them is bad enough but if they are multiplied I don't want to be there.
Just because Miss Chitter is making a funny face and snerling her nose doesn't mean she is at all upset. Just remind her that if she does it for too long, her face will stay like that.

Actually I can't recall ever hearing the words conniption or hissy until I was grown and fit described a seizure of some kind. Tommy Mashburn had fits at school one year and never came back. I don't know what to him. Every time I see the phrase "have a fit" I think about him.

I think Chitter is "acting" a bit in that picture, anyway she's too pretty to have a conniption. Folks say I'm "laid back" a little, but sometimes Politics get my dandruff up. I remember being censured before on here, along with others, and it weened me.

Several years ago you had a video, "Lookin' for Pap's Spring" and
Chitter and Chatter got into it over something. You were narrating the story, just paused a second to listen to 'em, and went on as if nothing had happened.ha That was classic! ...Ken

We were not allowed to throw conniption fits or hissy fits, Mama would get the fly swatter after you....

Conniption fits and hissy fits, I've had them both!

Yes, I remember those words from my childhood but I also remember "she had a hissy fit."

Definitely conniption fits. Also hissy fits. And wall-eyed conniption fits were worst of all! And then sometimes someone would merely get as mad as an old wet hen, while another would "have a cow."

Dear Tipper, I am well acquainted with "conniption fits" and all the various ways it is said. It has been a part of my family's vocabulary as long as I can remember. And the picture is perfect! I've seen that very expression on the faces of my children.

Brian-the Online Etymology Dictionary has this definition for conniption: 1833, American English, origin uncertain; perhaps related to corruption, which was used in a sense of anger from 1799, or from English dialectal canapshus ill-tempered, captious, probably a corruption of captious. 

Growing up we quickly learned pitching a conniption fit was not acceptable. As a young adult I carefully avoided those who would go "off" on you. Later in Psychology, I was taught I was "passive aggressive" if I did not display my feelings in an appropriate manner.
All this confusion was resolved as I grew older! I found muttering under my breath seemed to improve my mental health, or even better taking the remote and just clicking off some political rant. I take great pleasure in teaching children that voicing an opinion is not sassing. However, I still don't permit children to throw "hissies" or "conniptions."

What is a "conniption?"

I must agree with my sister, Sherry. Our Mamma would say, "Don't have a conniption!" Thanks for the origin study.

love the picture!!!! :) Don't forget the companion "she's gonna have a hissy".

I use it both ways. And then there is the "hissy fit" which I think might be a milder form of the conniption fit. And there is one called a "come apart" but my favorite one of all time is, "flew all to pieces." When that boy broke up with her she just flew all to pieces!

Just said conniption without the fit. Also don't have a "hissy".

Some people have used the term "Elder fit" named after the terrible temper tantrums common to some of my family members. I've heard other families with tantrums named after them, too.

Sherry-thank you for the comment! The Online Etymology Dictionary has this definition for conniption: 1833, American English, origin uncertain; perhaps related to corruption, which was used in a sense of "anger" from 1799, or from English dialectal canapshus "ill-tempered, captious," probably a corruption of captious. Like Don, I've heard conniption used by itself as a noun, but I most often hear it along with fit.

Much self-control is needed when a "conniption fit" is about to happen. I guess I've had a few in my life, maybe a long time ago, before I learned that there's more appropriate behavior than a 'conniption fit,'--for it usually shows up the one thus "acting up" rather than changing the situation. Just a little "Appalachian advice" and "common sense" here on how to control that unprecedented 'canniption fit.'

Like Ron, me and my family leave the "fit"off. Why, just last night I had on my lounge clothes ready to settle in for the night when I realized it was garbage day. I pitched a conniption having to put my jeans back on and drag the trash cans to the curb.

Conniption is not an adjective - it is a noun. No need to add fit - conniption is sufficient all by itself, as in "she had a conniption."

Oh yes, we have Coniston fits around here too. I may have even thrown a few myself.

We usually just leave the fit part unsaid and say something like, "Don't have a conniption!" The safest kind are those you mentioned in your mind. Once they get out, they have a way of costing more than they were worth.

Oh goodness yes! I have heard and used this term forever. That picture is absolutely perfect, Tipper, and it looks like one is about to happen. :) But what actually does "conniption" mean?

I've certainly heard this saying. Mostly used it to say "don't have a conniption fit." Although, I may have had a few well founded fits myself!

Yep, I've seen/heard a few being pitched. I may or may not have pitched a few myself.

I think I have most often heard this phrase when people were talking about someone else's behavior.

That face looks like a conniption fit about to happen!

That's the perfect picture for this 😉😱😡

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)