View synonyms for temper tantrum

temper tantrum


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Word History and Origins

Origin of temper tantrum1

First recorded in 1925–30

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Example Sentences

I know all of this sounds incredibly petty, like a philosophy professor having a temper tantrum when he is denied a nerdy pleasure or his intellectual birthright.

Any argument I try to hold comes tumbling out in the form of a whiny temper tantrum.

An 8-year-old girl in Missouri was held in a police car for two hours after throwing a temper tantrum in March.

Adler said she was punished because she “threw a temper tantrum on the House floor.”


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More About Temper Tantrum

What does temper tantrum mean?

A temper tantrum is an angry outburst by someone who has lost their temper in reaction to something they didn’t want to happen. The word tantrum by itself means the same thing.

Temper tantrums are often loud and they can be violent. A child kicking and screaming in response to being told to turn off the TV is having a temper tantrum.

The phrase is typically used to refer to an outburst by a young child, especially a toddler. But it can also be used to refer to an outburst by an adult. When used this way, it’s intended to criticize the person for being unreasonable and acting like a child.

Temper tantrum is often used with the verb throw, as in My son threw a temper tantrum right in the middle of the store.

Example: I work in customer service, so I’m used to dealing with temper tantrums from people who don’t get their way.

Where does temper tantrum come from?

The first records of the term temper tantrum come from around the 1920s. The first records of the word tantrum come from the 1700s, but its ultimate origin is uncertain.

If you’ve ever seen a toddler erupt in screams of rage and start stomping and rolling around over not getting something they wanted, you’ve witnessed a temper tantrum. Young children are still learning how to manage their emotions, so it’s common for them to have occasional temper tantrums, even over things that don’t seem like a big deal. When an adult throws a temper tantrum, it may not involve literal yelling and screaming—an angry social media post in ALL CAPS over some minor problem might be called a temper tantrum. Saying that an adult is throwing a temper tantrum is always intended to be a criticism of that person.

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How is temper tantrum used in real life?

Children sometimes throw temper tantrums when they don’t get what they want. When the term is applied to an outburst by an adult, it’s used in a critical way that’s intended to imply that that person is acting like a child.



Try using temper tantrum!

Is temper tantrum used correctly in the following sentence?

I just saw a customer throw a temper tantrum at the server because the restaurant was out of ketchup.