Word of the Day

: April 2, 2019


noun FAN-tahd

What It Means

1 plural fantods a : a state of irritability and tension

b : fidgets

2 : an emotional outburst : fit

fantod in Context

The movie's graphic imagery gave me the fantods—I had to turn it off.

"Orin's special conscious horror, besides heights and the early morning, is roaches. There'd been parts of metro Boston near the Bay he'd refused to go to, as a child. Roaches give him the howling fantods." — David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, 1996

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.

Name That Synonym

Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of fantod that refers to an emotional outburst: p _ _ o _ ys _.



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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