tan·​trum | \ ˈtan-trəm \

Definition of tantrum

: a fit of bad temper

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Synonyms for tantrum


blowup, explosion, fireworks, fit, hissy [chiefly Southern & southern Midland], hissy fit, huff, scene

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Examples of tantrum in a Sentence

had a tantrum when he found his little sister using his model paints

Recent Examples on the Web

In the real world, public tantrums have become commonplace and even ratified as legitimate expressions of policy grievance. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Serena Williams’s Time Out," 12 Sep. 2018 Will their potty training woes, the shots of him or her in the bath with a smiling heart over their privates, and the tantrums captured for laughs some day be a source of embarrassment and resentment? Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "The One Question Parents Should Ask Themselves Before Posting Their Kids on Social Media," 14 Jan. 2019 Acting childish doesn't have to mean throwing tantrums on the floor, either. Natasha Burton, Woman's Day, "9 Marriage Expectations That Could Destroy Your Relationship," 13 Nov. 2018 Viktor Troicki – 2013 Italian Open (3R) Four years before Pliskova’s meltdown, the Rome Open played host to a hilarious marathon tantrums by Viktor Troicki. Chris Chase, For The Win, "16 biggest meltdowns in tennis history," 18 May 2018 The Trump temper tantrum may produce a government shutdown. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "House Passes Funding Bill With Wall, Setting Stage for Shutdown," 20 Dec. 2018 The no-call set Johnson off on a tantrum, and he was hit with a yellow card for dissent. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Orlando City fans threw trash at Atlanta United players after ref's crucial no-call," 13 May 2018 Too often his frustration at not being the central character in the World Cup’s great drama led to tantrums and dives. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "The Danger of Overreacting to Brazil's Disappointing World Cup Exit," 7 July 2018 Still, the relatively smooth ride for emerging markets since the global financial crisis has conditioned buyers to expect tantrums and not breakdowns. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Will Argentina’s Nightmare Spread?," 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tantrum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tantrum

1714, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tantrum

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near tantrum


tant pis




tan vat


Statistics for tantrum

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for tantrum

The first known use of tantrum was in 1714

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More Definitions for tantrum



English Language Learners Definition of tantrum

: an uncontrolled expression of childish anger : an angry outburst by a child or by someone who is behaving like a child


tan·​trum | \ ˈtan-trəm \

Kids Definition of tantrum

: an outburst of bad temper


tan·​trum | \ ˈtan-trəm \

Medical Definition of tantrum

: a fit of bad temper

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Comments on tantrum

What made you want to look up tantrum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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