What does "in sort of a fit of" mean here :

Suddenly, this other kid from Harvard, named Mark, had this product called Facebook and people being excited about it. So in sort of a fit of somewhat immature professional jealousy, I said, "I'm not going to use this thing."

  • Have you consulted a dictionary? Fit is used here in the sense of an involuntary episode of a physical or emotional affliction, and the of PP is its complement, designating the affliction undergone. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 16 '17 at 13:59

"A fit of X" means an episode, or instance of that emotion. So "a fit of professional jealousy" is a particular moment where the person was overcome by jealousy. Similarly you can say "a fit of rage", "a fit of passion" and pretty much any other strong feeling:

In a fit of spite, he took her car and drove it into the ocean.

"(A) sort of a ..." is a standard phrase to say something is like something else, or that it is similar, but not quite the same:

He was sort of a good student, in that he got good grades, but he showed little interest in what he was studying and promptly forgot everything at the end of each semester.

In many cases "a sort of" is simply a figure of speech used when the speaker wants to soften or qualify an otherwise harsh comment:

I wouldn't say the politician is stupid, but he's sort of an idiot.

| improve this answer | |
  • I upvoted this answer, but feel compelled to add that "in sort of a fit of" would mean something that somehow resembles a fit of jealousy, but is in fact not quite a true fit of jealousy. (Perhaps the "sort of" part is meant to convey that this "fit of jealousy" is a bit of hyperbole and is being used humorously?) Moreover, just like sort of can "soften" a fit of, I think somewhat "softens" immature. – J.R. Aug 16 '17 at 14:24
  • @J.R. I would say rather that the author is doubly qualifying his statement, which (as he should have learned in grade school) only weakens his argument and makes him sound indecisive. – Andrew Aug 16 '17 at 14:28
  • 1
    Andrew: I more than somewhat sort of agree with that assessment. – J.R. Aug 16 '17 at 14:48
  • @Andrew thank you so much , it's so clear for me after your answer – Radwan Cherfy Aug 18 '17 at 16:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.