Dear Dumb Guy: What’s the origin of the word “tantrum”? – Beleaguered Parent in Pensacola
Dear Pensacola: Somebody having a little trouble with the kiddos, are they? Sorry to hear about it. Rest assured, the tantrum your little one is throwing has a long historical precedent, and perhaps hearing about it will make you feel a little bit better.
Tantrus Magnificus was the 15th emperor of Rome. He was a short dude – just under five feet tall – and had major self-image issues as a result. Even before he got elected emperor, he was always acting out in really annoying ways – fishing for compliments from the Senate, putting himself down just loud enough for the Spartan girls to hear him. You know, stuff guys still do today when they’re insecure jerks.
And then it got really bad once he got the big job. Suddenly, nobody approved of the job he was doing. His economic stimulus plans involved too many bestial orgies and not enough financial impact. Rumors circulated that he was a woman. (The fact that people could believe that last one really hurt him, especially given the orgies.)
He had a famous meltdown on a Tuesday in 1752 – a date that Roman history scholars refer to as “The Tuesday Meltdown of 1752” – wherein he took off all his clothes and ran around his own enormous party, screaming and yelling and grabbing plates of food from people and throwing the food in the swimming pool. Just being a general horse’s ass.
In a stunning coincidence, the root words tan and trum translate, almost literally, to “that asshole over there.”