Is there any difference between throw a fit and pitch a fit? Which is used more often in the US?

Pitch a fit (Merriam Webster): US, informal: to become very upset and angry in a loud and uncontrolled way, ex: He pitched a fit when she said she was going to be late again.

Throw a fit (Webster) :to express extreme anger, Ex: Dad will throw a fit if he finds out.

I had to provide definitions as the question was shut down as off-topic. What I can't get my head around is why this is necessary when it's all about something that couldn't be more intuitive for native speakers. It's pretty intuitive even for me, reading the definitions. What I need is a short confirmation, not someone drawing me a picture. Add to the equation the fact that this is the learners' stack exchange, why would anyone venture to answer my question if I throw in a definition, if they wouldn't without one? Because logic tells me, they're only using their intuition, inferring something obvious from the definition. Thank you very much, but that I'm able to do myself.

  • They seem pretty synonymous to me. I have no idea which is more common in conversation, and I don’t know if there’s any way to tell. It might even be regional.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 21:38
  • It must be "pitch a fit" since in the UK I have never heard that. Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 22:35
  • I haven't heard "pitch a fit" in the UK either, but assuming that when the OP asks which is more common in the US, they mean not which is more common there than in the UK, but rather which is more common in the US (than the alternative), then the UK usage is irrelevant. It could easily be the case that "throw a fit" is the more common form in both countries.
    – rjpond
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 8:22

5 Answers 5


As Andrew mentioned, they do mean more or less the same thing. I think the key word in the definition for understanding any nuance in difference is "uncontrolled." The expression "pitch a fit" is more likely to imply the person is hysterical or that the fit is unjustified. You could use "throw a fit" that way, too. But the reverse isn't true. You'd be unlikely to say, for example, "My dad will pitch a fit," if you are genuinely worried or anxious about his reaction.


Both mean more or less the same thing, but I couldn't say which is more common. Both are very informal expressions that I would be reluctant to use outside of a casual context, like with friends, as they imply the subject is out of control, overcome with a strong emotion, like a child throwing a tantrum.

I would not recommend you use either unless you understand the nuance, and how it might be received by the listener. Many people might take offense.


I think "pitch a fit" is regional to the southern U.S. I grew up in the midwest and in the past I would have said "throw a fit," but since living in Georgia for the last 17 years, I've heard "pitch a fit" and not "throw a fit." The meaning is the exactly same.


We use "Pitch a fit" quite often in Iowa. I don't think anyone here says "throw a fit".


I have never ever heard of "pitch a fit". If I heard this, I wouldn't have understood it. We (in nyc) always use 'throw a fit'. Usually 'pitch' is used for baseball. We also use it for; "hey can you pitch in and help with the work?" 'Pitch in' is usually used to means for someone to help in doing something. I hope that helps.

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