Meltdown as temper tantrum

Tue Apr 1 20:27:39 UTC 2008

        Also a rage or outburst.  "Snit" I understand to be something
milder, more along the line of hurt feelings, though I'm not sure I can
produce support for that intuition.  There is a list of synonyms, most
of them unfamiliar to me, at
"Meltdown" seems to me to be less judgmental than "tantrum" or "fit,"
which may contribute to its popularity - it implies a loss of control
rather than an ill-advised volitional act.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Mark Peters
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 3:18 PM
Subject: Meltdown as temper tantrum

  I'm working on a new column about the language of children's tantrums,
fits, and snits. I think I'm going to focus on the wide use of meltdown.
I haven't run into a single parent of young children who doesn't use
this term. The OED has meltdown being used figuratively since 1983, but
there's nothing specifically about it as a child-centric term.

 Does anybody have a lead or theory on meltdown's history re: kids? If
you know of any other synonyms, that would be a help too...


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