Monday, February 23, 2015

On Hissy-Fitting and Lickety-Splitting



Great Big Baby Dog Woodrow, Old Lady Dog Callie, and I were lying on our bellies looking out my attic-bedroom window at 6:15 this morning.  Snuggling in bed with your dogs looking out the window together in the early morning is one of the great pleasures of life.  I commend it to you.

While we were gazing at the ice-covered woods, the dogs began throwing a hissy-fit.  If you are not from the American south, you may not know that a hissy-fit is a tantrum.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines hissy-fit as a sudden period of uncontrolled and silly anger like a child’s.  I do not think people from Cambridge throw hissy-fits. 

In addition, one does not HAVE a hissy-fit.  One THROWS a hissy-fit.  I do not know why.  

Perhaps it’s because throw is a strong verb.  A good hissy-fit is always thrown.  Most recently I threw a hissy-fit when I dropped my phone in the bath.

But back to the dogs’ hissy-fit.  They threw it because Young Red Fox was lickety-splitting down the cart path. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines lickety-split thus: as quickly as possible.  OD says lickety-split is an adverb, but I prefer it as a verb.  I know the word more intimately than the writers of OD do because I’ve been lickety-splitting all my life, and I doubt that anyone who ever worked on the Oxford Dictionary has ever lickety-splitted.  I can’t imagine a wizened don sitting in a dusty library telling another wizened don, “I need a definition of perspicacious lickety-split.”

Please note that I like verbing nouns, adjectives, and adverbs.  Lickety-splitting is a more powerful verb than running lickety-split.

Lest you wonder whether verbing is a verb, it is.  Antimeria/anthimeria is the act of changing one part of speech into another, such as verbing.    If you change the word, it’s a derivation.  If you don’t change the word, it’s a conversion or a zero derivation.

Lest you think this essay is pointless, let me assure you that I have a point: life is too short to throw hissy-fits by annoyances lickety-splitting through our lives.  Like other people’s antimeria:  Yesterday I was lickety-splitting past another white-haired woman who was throwing a hissy-fit about her daughter-in-law’s use of the word cocooning, as in, “We’re staying home cocooning this weekend.” 

I wanted to say, “Lady, at our age, life is too short for throwing hissy-fits.

“Instead, we should each go home and snuggle on our beds with our dogs and gaze into the snow-filled woods.” 

Dogs who get hissyfied by foxes lickety-splitting by.

Hissyfied?  One of my favorite antimeria is making predicate adjectives by adding fied to almost any part of speech.  So I hope you have been smartified today because I taught you about antimeria/anthimeria. 

And I hope you stop lickety-splitting for the rest of the day, get unhissyfied, and go snuggle with your dogs on your bed and stare out the window together. And thus be blessifed.
 
 
 

2 comments:

  1. Wow! And I just thought a hissy-fit was a hissy-fit. I have thrown a few in my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But always becomes somebody needed to!

      Delete