[tan-truh m]


a violent demonstration of rage or frustration; a sudden burst of ill temper.

Origin of tantrum

First recorded in 1740–50; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tantrum

Contemporary Examples of tantrum

Historical Examples of tantrum

  • Because, before you went into any tantrum about yourself, who are—'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • But Brother Archangias, still holding his cards, flew into a tantrum: 'Oh!

  • It had been a cruel letter, but unconsidered, like the tantrum of a child.

    Hidden Water

    Dane Coolidge

  • Her voice soared shrilly to match the heights of her tantrum.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • “What a tantrum Martha will be in,” muttered Eliza, as she left the room.

    The Weathercock

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for tantrum



(often plural) a childish fit of rage; outburst of bad temper

Word Origin for tantrum

C18: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tantrum

1714, originally colloquial, of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tantrum in Medicine




A fit of bad temper.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.