1a. plural : a state of irritability and tension;
b. fidgets;
2. an emotional outburst : fit.

1. “The idea of such a sum—$140,000!—dropping into the lap of a 19-year-old gave me the fantods.” — From an article by Lucy Ferriss in The New York Times, June 28, 2009
2. “When you listen to the podcast, you’ll also hear … the glaring statistics that should give any sensible parent the howling fantods. For instance, he mentions that there’s a 1-in-2 chance that a newborn will, at some point, be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.” — From an article by Christopher Heimerman in the Daily Gazette (Sterling, Illinois), January 18, 2014.

“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 the oldest 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.” The exact origin of “fantod” remains a mystery, but it may have arisen from English dialectal “fantigue”—a word (once used by Dickens) that refers to a state of great tension or excitement and may be a blend of “fantastic” and “fatigue.”


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