fantod

noun

fan·​tod ˈfan-ˌtäd How to pronounce fantod (audio)
1
fantods plural
a
: a state of irritability and tension
b
2
: an emotional outburst : fit

Did you know?

"You have got strong symptoms of the fantods; your skin is so tight you can't shut your eyes without opening your mouth." Thus, American author Charles Frederick Briggs provides us with an early recorded use of fantods in 1839. Mark Twain used the word to refer to uneasiness or restlessness as shown by nervous movements—also known as the fidgets—in Huckleberry Finn: "They was all nice pictures, I reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because … they always give me the fantods." David Foster Wallace later used "the howling fantods," a favorite phrase of his mother, in Infinite Jest. The exact origin of fantod remains a mystery, but it may have arisen from English dialectal fantigue—a word (once used by Charles Dickens) that refers to a state of great tension or excitement and may be a blend of fantastic and fatigue.

Word History

Etymology

perhaps alteration of English dialect fantique, fanteeg, perhaps blend of fantastic and fatigue

First Known Use

1839, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of fantod was in 1839

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near fantod

Cite this Entry

“Fantod.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fantod. Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY