Imagine telling your long standing girlfriend that you want to break off from her as your parents have finalized a match for you. In all probability the scene you would witness would be that of hysterical excitement that could be aptly termed as a conniption fit. A person having a conniption fit would be generally known to be a normal and rational person.
The word conniption is a noun, its plural form being conniptions, which refers to a fit of anger, panic or hysterical excitement. It is also known as conniption fit. A person can have a conniption, go into conniptions or have a fit of conniptions; all these phrases would mean the same-a fit of hysterical excitement.
The word conniption was used as early as 1833 in American English though nothing much is known about its origin. It is perhaps related to the word ‘corruption’ which from the year 1799 meant to convey the emotion of anger. A dialect of English has the word ‘canapshus’ which meant ill-tempered.
A conniption fit can be described as a sudden and emotional outburst to unexpected news or shocking turn of events. A conniption fit as such would be an expected response to the bad news and is different from a temper tantrum which need not necessarily be the result of an external provocation. A conniption fit is accompanied by a string of strong words, at times even incomprehensible language, pelted out in frustration or rage.
The term conniption fit is interchanged with other related terms such as hissy fit or temper tantrum. Though they all refer to a form of emotional outburst there is a subtle difference between them. A temper tantrum may be more of an immature outburst experienced more by children when they experience some disturbance or disappointment in their immediate environment. A little girl may throw a temper tantrum, for instance when she accidentally breaks her favorite doll.
A person who is notorious for his histrionic skills may have hysterical emotional outbursts in response to an adverse situation. This may be termed as throwing a temper tantrum. Many a times the response seems to be too exaggerated or immature for the particular situation. Such a person may be lacking proper anger management skills to deal with the situation.
A conniption fit may be an outburst of an otherwise rational person to maybe a set of irrational or provocative disturbances he has to encounter. In many cases, an emotional outburst would be warranted though it may still be seen as a temporary loss of reason and composure.