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Hair-Trigger Temper

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Good luck telling him to take a chill pill.
"Some poser hands me cake at a birthday party.
Whatcha want me to do with this?
Eat it?
I threw the rest of the cake, too!
Welcome to the
real world, jackass!"
The Lonely Island, "Threw It on the Ground"

A character with a Hair-Trigger Temper flies into a rage at the slightest provocation. Masters of Disproportionate Retribution, they react explosively to the slightest annoyance. Unlike someone with a Berserk Button, who is generally calm until a specific button is pressed, characters with a hair-trigger temper can be set off by nearly anything. This makes them far less predictable — and far more dangerous.

The expression comes from firearms: a hair-trigger is one that’s been designed or modified so that it only takes a very light pull to fire the gun. This can help with accuracy because there’s less time in which one’s aim can wander between starting to pull the trigger and when the sear inside the gun actually trips. At the same time, it’s dangerous because there’s less mechanical resistance to the gun accidentally going off at the slightest bump. A well-designed version will reduce the accidental discharge risk by requiring the gunman to push the trigger forward or pull a heavier second trigger to “set” the hair-trigger; unfortunately, people with hair-trigger tempers have no such safety features.

In comparison to the "avoid the Big Red Button" approach with someone with a Berserk Button, conversation with someone like this is like trying to navigate a minefield without a metal detector. You know the danger is there, but you have no clue exactly where it is. At best they're tetchy and anxiety-inducing. At worst, they're a surly, dangerous, ticking time bomb, ready to go off without so much as a warning. The very act of trying to talk to them might be enough to set them off. Trying to joke with them is downright suicidal. And even just trying to stay away from them won't necessarily help; they're likely to take being ignored or avoided as a deliberate snub, and... well, you get the picture.

Characters with a hair-trigger temper are generally grumpy to everybody, but they usually have a favorite victim for their rampages — often a Naďve Newcomer who doesn't understand how they keep managing to offend the guy. This can be harmful to the victim's health — while heroic characters with a Hair-Trigger Temper generally restrain themselves to verbal abuse, Anti Villainous ones can get physically violent, and out-and-out villainous ones may even kill people for annoying them.

Sometimes, the character is this way because they're generally irritable and misanthropic — they don't really like anyone they deal with. Sometimes the character is suffering from Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Sometimes (female-exclusive) they might just have a bad case of PMS. And sometimes, the character with the Hair-Trigger Temper is trying to pick a fight or intimidate or abuse someone. With the latter scenario, it doesn't really matter what you do or don't say to them — they will use it as an excuse to go off on you and make your life hell, essentially doing a verbal version of Why Did You Make Me Hit You? — behaving badly and then pinning the blame on the person being attacked. These kinds of people are generally called bullies. If someone tougher or higher ranked than them tells them to knock it off, they probably will, at least for the moment. Characters with a Napoleon Complex are usually known for having a Hair-Trigger Temper.

In a Four-Temperament Ensemble, this character is Choleric. Very, very Choleric.

This can obviously have disastrous consequences though if they let their temper get the better of them far too often. Expect the victim who has taken too much abuse to suddenly snap in front of them with sudden and alarming reversal of roles, where the abuser's rage now pales in comparison to their victims. Sometimes it's not the victim themselves that gets pissed off, but other, more powerful people who the character's unpredictable temper has made serious trouble for, and which has crossed a line that these people will not tolerate. Mafia movies, for example, often have a character like this whose instability and violence inevitably lead to them pissing off the wrong people and either getting whacked or suffering some other serious and painful consequences. Sometimes, their temper problems will land them in legal trouble instead, leading to either a ruinous lawsuit or punishment by the authorities.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder is the Real Life Trope Maker for this trope. It can also manifest as a symptom of other disorders, including Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and even Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Compare Drama Queen (who acts dramatic at the drop of a hat).

Contrast Extreme Doormat (who will not respond angrily to anything), Tranquil Fury (when a character's anger does not compromise their self-control), Passive-Aggressive Kombat, Rage-Breaking Point, The Stoic (who shows little if any emotion), and Prone to Tears. The Sociopath is a very likely character to have this, due to their low tolerance for inconvenience or irritation, which is often displayed through a lack of impulse control. The particularly psychotic examples almost always overlap with Ax-Crazy. Doesn't blow up too, unfortunately. If they are of the particular type to handle a gun, and want retribution now, then they may be a Pushy Gun-Toting Villain.

And by the way, anyone bringing any real-life examples here WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT!

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Fat Doc from Lamput is described as being short-tempered compared to his assistant Slim Doc, for example being the first one to start yelling when the docs have a fight in "The Split".

    Comic Books 
  • There is absolutely no way of knowing whether saying something to The Joker will result in him laughing or killing you, horribly and violently. Or doing both. You're on slightly safer ground with Marx Brothers quotes.
    • In one arc, Robin escaped the Joker by deliberately misidentifying the source of just such a quote; the Joker thought it was more important to argue and convince him he was wrong than to just go ahead and kill him, which was the whole reason he'd captured him in the first place.
  • Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man had a bad case of this in his early appearances, largely because he'd been vat-grown (so despite technically being in his late teens, he only had a few months of actual life experience), he grew up in the hideously traumatic Age of Apocalypse and saw most of the people he cared for murdered, and had people trying to manipulate him at every turn, making him extremely (and often justifiably) paranoid. Accordingly, it didn't take much to set him off - which isn't good, given he was explicitly the equal of the Dark Phoenix, and only getting stronger. This led to more than a few unfortunate incidents, though those who could actually get through to him, like Cable (eventually), Spider-Man, Jean Grey and Moira MacTaggert (who hilariously once scolded him into submission in the midst of a full-on meltdown). Later, he became a much calmer individual. This was not necessarily an improvement.
  • As seen in Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime, while a moron (or, at least, a complete ditz), is terrifying because he will fly off the handle and start trying to destroy everything in sight at the slightest provocation. The reason this is terrifying is that he's as strong as Silver Age Superman.
  • Supergirl:
  • Spider-Man: J Jonah Jameson's temper is very, very, very volatile.
  • In G.I. Joe, bomb specialist Short Fuze's codename doesn't come from his explosive expertise, but his explosive temper.
  • Johnny C, from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. In addition to being Ax-Crazy, Johnny has killed dozens of people for one person's poor choice of words. He's wacky like that.
    • Great, now you're dead.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk's entire existence basically hinges on this concept. It takes very little to piss him off, so you're basically walking on eggshells when he's in your presence for the entire time. Even if you do manage to get him to a calm state, he often assumes that someone is stealth insulting him or trying to tell him what to do, which either causes him to leave in a huff or just attempt to smash your ass. Or some dumbass will come along and provoke him again. While he's not exactly a bad guy, this is the reason he tends to get into so many battles with other superheroes.
  • Robin (1993): Jack Drake has a quick temper that leads to him snapping and screaming at his son and destroying his son's things before Tim even has a chance to realize he's somehow managed to upset him again. Jack usually reins it in around others, though once he learned about Tim being Robin due to trashing his room and destroying the pannel the costume was hidden behind he took a gun and went and threatened Bruce.
  • Kid Colt had a notoriously short fuse. It was his temper that got him in the situation where he was branded an outlaw, it would continue to plague him throughout his career: landing him in scrapes that more level-headed heroes could have walked away from.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mad Pierre in Beau Peep. The standard format of a Mad Pierre strip is: Peep tries to think of something he can do (or nor do) that will prevent Pierre getting mad at him, Pierre smacks him in the face, Pierre describes whatever Peep was doing as something that really annoys him.
  • Garfield lampshades this in one comic strip by saying that, among other things, he has a "lightning-quick temper".
  • Tina the technical writer in Dilbert, who "regards every conversation within her hearing distance as an insult to her occupation and gender." She's lightened up considerably in later years, though.
  • This is the defining trait of Blowtop in Dick Tracy. The fact that his name is a play on blowing one's top is indication enough.
  • The Far Side had a lot of cartoons like this. For instance, one early strip showed an angry man holding a smoking shotgun, having killed two people with it, while his wife behind him angrily says, "That settles it, Carl! From now on, you're only getting decaffeinated coffee!"
  • The Outbursts of Everett True has the simple but effective formula of the eponymous Mr. True losing his patience with some annoying, rude, or mean person and lashing out at them in an over-the-top fashion.
  • Scary Gary: Leopold can and does fly into a murderous rage and attack/kill/eat people at the slightest provocation, usually Played for Laughs. At one point he attacks one of his neighbors just for saying hi to him.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Asbjřrnsen and Moe's "The Old Dame and her Hen", the troll is prone to flying into a rage for the smallest reason. He kills two women because they did not want to be his "sweethearts", he kills one goat because the unlucky beast wandered into his lair by accident, and he is willing to slap his "sweetheart" for not talking back.

    Fan Works 
  • The titular princess in Aqua's Journey fits this trope to a T. The problem is, she has the power to back it up. Hair-Trigger Temper + Supernova power = woe betide the person who pisses her off.
  • In Chrysalis Visits The Hague, the queen is incredibly aggressive throughout her stay in the prison, lunging at her warders and throwing tantrums at the drop of a hat. It's suggested that this stems from severe 'love' withdrawal, as she only calms down after being thrown a (dead) chicken to feed off of.
  • Evangelion 303: After Jessica's death, Asuka's temper got way, way worse. Anything could make her snap and lash out. Fortunately, she got better after a while.
  • In Peanuts fanfiction Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime, Lucy Van Pelt's even snappier than usual due to the news of her creator dying and the comic strip ending. Hence, she slugs her brother Linus because maybe he was thinking something unflattering about her.
    Schroeder: We'll all die someday, Charlie Brown. Maybe that won't be the end of it. Maybe we'll get to see each other once we do die.
    Linus: I suppose that depends on us all ending up in the same place.
    (Lucy hauls off and knocks him off his pins.)
    Charlie: What'd you do that for?
    Lucy: (huffing) Well, when he starts making comments about not all of us being in the same place when we die, I'm sure he was thinking about maybe me being in someplace other than where he expects to go!
    Charlie: Oh, Lucy. It's maybe the last day before we have to start aging, and get on with our lives, and you want to celebrate by slugging your brother.
    Lucy: How would it be if I slugged you?
  • Princess Andrea "Andi" Garcia in Fantasia Times tends to lose her cool and yell at/physically attack people on a regular basis, usually for incredibly petty things.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion: Asuka had a very short fuse after Third Impact, and she often snapped and said things she didn't mean and eventually regretted. However, her temper improves once she becomes an adult woman.
  • A Hero's Wrath: Much like with his father, Izuku's affinity to Wrath mantra has given him a rather short fuse. While this originally manifested as an explosive temper that turned into an Unstoppable Rage if he didn't find ways to burn off the excess mantra, when he becomes Vajra Vlitra Izuku, it has since evolved into a Tranquil Fury, having learned to properly harness and focus his rage without it consuming him.
  • HERZ: After the Angel War, the already volatile Asuka’s temper got worse. For several years she was constantly angry, moody or bitter, and prone to explode when something triggered her anger. At the start of the story she has managed to control her temper –and she regrets some of her past explosions of wrath-, but she still has a short fuse.
  • Kaji, of the Dragon Ball Z fanfiction Honor Trip. His default personality is annoyed, and his moods only get less friendly. Of course, he has to constantly deal with Hufeh's shenanigans, which would test anyone's patience.
  • Nie Mingjue in journey of no envies, whose temper is getting worse. This convinces Nie Huaisang to look for a solution, leading him to reconnect with Wei Wuxian.
  • Absolutely everyone in Knowledge is Power flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. The only real difference between the heroes and the villains is that the former get away with it and the latter just shoot themselves in the foot.
  • In The Loud House x Beauty and the Beast A Us that have Luan as Belle and Benny as the Beast, Benny is often given one that he manages to get over when warming up to Luan. Justified though considering he's the playing the role of Beast.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton (Danny Phantom Western Animation, TV Series, and Comic Books.): Katie Kaboom due to her powers. When something sets her off, she turns into a monster that's nearly unstoppable.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Due to the events of canon, Asuka is very bitter and short-tempered. Nonetheless, her temper improves a bit after hooking up with Shinji.
  • The Night Unfurls: Normally speaking, Chloe reacts with fury towards anyone or anything she considers an affront to her liege lady Olga, making this instance more of a Berserk Button. Her counterpart in the remastered version magnifies this trait, together with a tendency to antagonize people and rant about how humans suck. Her Fantastic Racism towards humans only fuels her fervor. It is quickly deconstructed to show how problematic her behaviour is — Chloe comes across as an Insufferable Imbecile whose lack of restraint is a source of discord among the Great Escape party. Her antagonising Kyril also veers into Bullying a Dragon territory, something that Olga and Kyril himself have warned. The latter has explicitly stated that should Chloe be incapable of cooperating, he would "rescind his amnesty".
  • The Pokémon Squad:
    • June is quite easily pissed off, usually because of something Ash says or does. Whenever she gets angry, she either beats someone up or enters a swearing tantrum.
    • In an episode where RM clones himself, he ends up making clones modeled after the Seven Deadly Sins. Naturally, Wrath is essentially June in RM's body.
  • In Prison Island Break, Shadow the Hedgehog can go from zero to psycho at the drop of a hat.
    Sonic: Boy, Shadow sure gets antsy when you squeeze the toothpaste from the wrong end.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse:
    • Raindrops finds herself aggravated by almost everything, whether she wants to be or not, except the rain, where she'll become so happy she'll break out in song. Raindrops is aware of how her temper looks from the outside and tries hard to control it, especially since she's exceptionally strong.
    • Corona, which is not a good combination with firepower enough to turn mountains to rubble. In fairness, she is quite mad, and as time goes by she starts mellowing out further and further.
    • While not to the same extent as the other two, Luna herself is very easily upset. Flashbacks show her outright ruining the lives of several ponies for screwing up a song about her fight with Celestia, regardless of their motives, to the extent that by the modern day, playing it is an outright death sentence for the musician's career.
  • Scar Tissue: Asuka's temper had got way more volatile after Instrumentality. Often her bursts of rage were unconscious: she entered a trance and she did not wake up until it was too late. After the events, prior to the fic, she makes a conscious effort for keeping it in check.
  • Seth in the Pokécity: Tim Tim is usually a Nice Guy. That said, he can be set off by a lot of things, being a Fiery Redhead of Scottish AND New York descent.
  • Barricade from Transformers Meta possesses this.
    • For example, he doesn't hesitate to scream at his commander whenever he disagrees with him.
    • You can find him standing in corners, glaring at whoever's around him.
    • He openly admits that he hates everybody.
  • Tamers Forever Series:
    • It is very easy to piss off Rika. This is lampshaded at one point.
      Takato: I thought you were mad at me?
      Rika: Do you think I'm the kind of person who gets mad at silly things like that?
      Takato: Ummm...
      Ruki: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a dilemma here!
      Takato: Ah...Rika, do you want the right answer or the nice answer?
      Takato: Ow!
    • As the Avatar of Wrath, Jeri makes Rika look like a pacifist in comparison.
  • Adam Taurus in Vale's Underground is notorious for his unstable temper. It usually causes him to pick fights with others and murder his own workers. His first scene shows him losing it over the fact that Roman pointed out he arrived late to the meeting.
  • Weird Incident Shit: Problem Sleuth can tell that Reimu Hakurei has one. And he's right- if you try to challenge her to a fight, you get a Bad End.
  • In What About Witch Queen? king Friedrich of the Souther Isles, Hans' brother, explodes with berserker Unstoppable Rage at slightest provocations. It's so bad he actually locks himself in his room for the attacks and the entire set of furniture must be changed afterward.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Beast of Beauty and the Beast was this initially, eventually after he warms up to Belle he learns to control his temper.
  • A Bug's Life: P.T. Flea. It doesn't take much to get him shouting mad.
  • The God of the Underworld, Hades from Hercules. You'll literally trigger his hair to burst into flames if you come up with anything like a failure, repeat words or challenge him.
  • Inside Out: Anger. Pretty much like Hades, he will burst out with flames. Justified since he is the personification of Riley's anger.
  • The LEGO Movie: God forbid you fail Lord Business, even in the slightest way possible. If he doesn't have everything his way, he will stop at nothing to exact his murderous wrath and get everything back in order. Nobody crosses him and survives, mostly because of how unpredictable and single-minded he is. GCBC seems to be the victim of this a lot, at one point being forced to Kragle his parents after he failed to capture the Special and the Piece of Resistance, Good Cop having his face erased for disloyalty and then being abandoned in the Think Tank, which holds the Master Builders, set to self-destruct when he is no longer of use.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Whenever Randall Boggs isn't being a petty Jerkass and antagonizing Sulley, he's shown to be quick to anger, especially if it has something to do with Sulley. No surprise, given who his voice actor is.
    • Averted in the prequel, where he's shown to be more patient, kind and less tempermental than he was in Inc. At least until he joins Roar Omega Roar.
  • Sunset Shimmer from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls series. In the first film, prior to her Heel–Face Turn, nearly any sign of disrespect could set her off into a screaming rage, especially when it interfered with her scheme. Post-villainy, she still has quite the short fuse that has been set off due to any number of things (someone being reckless with magic, being slighted or inconvenienced, a bad gaming session, etc.), though she's better at directing her anger at an appropriate target and reigning it in.
  • Wilf from Postman Pat: The Movie is known to lose his temper when things go wrong, especially since he wanted his young client Josh to win the recording contract in the talent show.
  • Robin Hood (1973): Being a massive Spoiled Brat, the Big Bad, Prince John is shown to be quick to anger and gets irritated rather easily. Just ask Sir Hiss.
  • In Turning Red, it doesn't take much to set Abby off. Her introductory scene has her angrily ranting at some classmates for littering, and when she realizes that she got the date 4*Town was visiting Toronto wrong, she's angry enough to tear the poster to shreds on the spot.

  • The Serpent Queen, a human woman whose head was magically transformed into that of a serpent, from the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks possesses such a temper, having murdered a number of the retainers provided to her by Azzur, the lord of Port Blacksand.

  • Opal Koboi from Artemis Fowl is as bad as Voldemort in this department. Her mood swings will give you whiplash.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Purple-Green is prone to bouts of anger and gets particularly livid when somebody pushes one of his Berserk Buttons.
    • Eads is apparently known among the cadre for his hot temperament. In particular, he is absolutely livid when he finds out that Penbar, the local judge in Kohon, tried to have one of his men condemned without his consent and for no good reason. He seems close to drawing his sword and personally killing Penbar, openly calls him a fanatic and a murderer, and even threatens to put him in a military court before real judges.
  • Stig, of Brotherband. He will fly off the handle if you say he's like his father (a dishonored thief), take a dump on his mother, or so much as look at Hal funny. He manages to tame his temper in order to win brotherband training.
  • Chauntecleer in The Book of the Dun Cow is a heroic example, his short temper making him Vitriolic Best Buds with the self-hating but extremely loyal Mundo Cani Dog, who he uses as a doormat and insults creatively. It also makes him prone to especially bad Heroic BSODs. He is also devoted to his wife Pertelote and his three sons.
  • Mr. Krupp from the Captain Underpants book series. Even discounting how much George and Harold bug him, it's easier to list all of the times he doesn't get angry.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, Szelma confesses to having a case of this. She's quick to threaten people with a knife and her father has sent her for therapy because she kept on challenging much bigger werewolves for duels.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry develops one of these after the events of Death Masks. As the series progresses he gets easier and easier to anger, reaching a point where an outburst of stubbornness from his apprentice results in him blowing up a trashcan with a bolt of fire in sheer frustration. He eventually realizes that this is because of Lasciel's influence on his mind. Lasciel later vacates his brain, only to be replaced by the Winter Mantle, which is even worse.
  • The Enchanted Files: Angus Cairns, the titular character of Diary of a Mad Brownie / Cursed, is rather short-tempered (and admits it's a problem), which is part of why the book's original title refers to him as a "mad brownie". Justified in most cases — his job is to keep the house clean, and he's angered when Alex (and her family) won't do much to help in that regard; he also absolutely flips out over being called the wrong species, over being called a pet, and by Destiny's teacher trying to tell her that her "imaginary friend" was never real.
  • Hotspur in the Flora Segunda novels. Among other things, he came this close to shooting the Warlord for groping Flora.
  • Girls Don't Hit: Joss quickly learns a female detective is hot-tempered and easily pushes her into violence through hitting on her wife.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): Jeff always had anger issues, which were mostly minor but worsened after Ben's death, leading him to snap at the smallest things, and making him easily susceptible to falling into a blind rage at times.
  • The Hagakure, an 18th-century Japanese treatise on samurai and their virtues, suggests Hair-Trigger Temper as a highly commendable lifestyle for samurai.
  • Harry Potter, but only in Order of the Phoenix. Fans refer to Harry in this book as "CAPSLOCK!Harry", for reasons obvious to those who have read it. Not coincidentally, this was the point in the storyline where the plot became much less lighthearted, and picking up this trait for a while was an invoked case of O.O.C. Is Serious Business.
    • Severus Snape also falls into this category but rather than being emotionally reactive with his anger, he instead doles out punishments like detention, hard tests, or by just abusing his power as professor.
    • Bellatrix Lestrange spends most of her time in the books either evilly taunting people or screaming her head off in rage. She tends to kill people in either state.
    • Voldemort's Hair-Trigger Temper frightens even Bellatrix. He can go from quietly sardonic to Ax-Crazy within a second.
    • Uncle Vernon has one bordering on inverse Everything Is Racist levels regarding magic, to the point where he flips his shit at Harry in Chamber of Secrets for trying to give Dudley a lesson in politeness (It Makes Sense in Context).
    • It's mentioned in the final book that Grindelwald flew off the handle and attacked Dumbledore's siblings in a fit of rage, ending their "friendship". This aspect of his personality is elaborated on more in the Prequel film series (see the live-action films section for more info).
  • Cato from The Hunger Games. He's got a short fuse, and Heaven helps whoever is in his way when it goes off.
  • Captain Zuccho from Incompetence. He especially dislikes the suggestion that he try to calm down.
  • Werewolves, especially younger wolves, are noted to have aggression issues in Mercy Thompson (older wolves tend to be ones who've learned to control it, those who don't typically don't live long enough to become older wolves). Adam is particularly noted as being temperamental. Things that are known to set him off: Mercy, threatening his pack, threatening Mercy, threatening his daughter, Jessie. In one novel, he found out that some kids were bullying Jessie. It took the entire pack working together to prevent him from tracking them down and killing all of them.
  • Oddly Enough: In "The Japanese Mirror", Jonathan is noted for having had a foul temper that made him yell at anyone who triggered it, until the titular mirror begins absorbing his anger.
  • The titular Pigeon of the Pigeon Series of illustrated children's books will often explode into violent, page-filling tantrums whenever he doesn't get what he wants.
  • The Big Bad of The Q Continuum, 0. He compresses a community of gaseous beings into an inert mass when they repelled his attempts to harness them, destroys an entire solar system just because they'd overcome the chaos he and his cohorts had unleashed on them, and hurls an asteroid at Q's future wife when she tries to convince him to abandon 0.
  • Juhani in Aleksis Kivi's Seven Brothers, combined with fondness to Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Janus from The Shadow Campaigns. Marcus notes that his most frightening quality is that he can be perfectly affable one second and then turn absolutely furious without warning, and you can never know what will set him off.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Dayless the Conqueror was an extreme example and would order executions for the smallest annoyances. He still has this when he eventually sets out on his Redemption Quest, though not to anywhere near the same extent. Throughout the story, he increasingly makes the effort to control his rages and not overreact, but an explosive temper remains his Fatal Flaw.
  • The Silmarillion:
    • Feanor is an angry, self-centered, murderous jerkass with absolutely no restraint or self-control. He has been known to hate people because they approved of an idiom shift he detested.
    • His seven sons (with the possible exception of Maglor) take after him. They get a very short fuse.
  • Thorn of The Traitor Son Cycle is an extremely powerful and experienced magician, but he has a very short fuse and flies into a rage whenever provoked, leading to rash decisions - something that the heroes exploit to win against him in the first book. By his next appearance, he realizes that this is a flaw of his and gets better at controlling his emotions.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Kathryn Lucas and Maggie Spritzer sure have these kinds of tempers. Their friends can only live with it.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant, although it tends to be Tranquil Fury in his case.
  • In The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Captain likes to affect to have a hair-trigger temper. When Serush dares to protest his taking a break from unloading wares, Isa whips around and flings a barrel in his general direction — upwards, towards a balcony.
  • From A Song of Ice and Fire, the Mountain, Ser Gregor Clegane, snaps at the slightest provocation or perceived insult, and being over seven feet tall and wielding a greatsword one-handed, carnage generally ensues. When he loses a jousting tournament due to a misbehaving horse, he decapitates said horse in a blind rage and attacks his celebrating opponent (and his own brother when he attempts to break up the attack), only stopping when ordered to by the King. This is only a mild example. He is given something of an excuse in the suggestion that he constantly suffers from unfathomably painful migraine headaches (perhaps due to whatever twist of genetics made him so big and strong), to the point where he constantly has to imbibe the in-universe painkiller 'milk of the poppy' (this world's version of opium). Doesn't make him any less dangerous, though. Or less of an ass.
  • Slightly downplayed, but this is otherwise the case for Father Jerome in Smaller & Smaller Circles. In particular, he can't stand being around arrogant and/or willfully ignorant people, especially in positions of power—Arcinas being a prime example.
  • In The Spirit Thief, the Lord of Storms has next to no patience, and gets worse the longer he's held back from the hunt. Add to that his nature as a Humanoid Abomination, and he's pretty terrifying.
  • Stephen King's works have several characters who exhibit this trait. They aren't always antagonists either.
    • A character known only as The Kid from the extended edition of The Stand. He starts out with fairly clear Berserk Buttons, which the Trashcan Man avoids setting off to survive, but his insanity becomes more apparent as the story goes on. It's clear that if he hadn't been killed, he would have found an excuse to kill the Trashcan Man no matter what he did.
    • This is a racial trait of the aliens in King's The Tommyknockers, and, along with their total lack of common sense, is what makes them Insufficiently Advanced Aliens. They are extreme technical geniuses, but they keep killing each other off because they can't resist visiting Disproportionate Retribution on anyone who slighted them, no matter how petty the slight. For example, one character in the process of 'becoming' one of these aliens discovers that a member of his poker group used to regularly cheat. He teleports the guy to Altair 4, a faraway, desolate planet with hardly any air. How much did the guy steal? Pennies.
    • In The Shining and its sequel Doctor Sleep, this seems to be In the Blood of the Torrance family. Jack's abusive father had a vicious temper that would go off at even the slightest provocation or no provocation at all. Jack still remembers when his father beat his mother at the dinner table with a cane for no reason at all. Jack himself would go on to demonstrate the same violent temper even while stone-cold sober (though alcohol made it worse). He viciously beat a student of his when said student slashed his tires. His son Danny inherited the penchant for alcoholism and a bad temper, and he actually gets in trouble with the law over it as an adult. His niece Abra also has a bad temper, and it only gets worse due to the stress caused by the True Knot.
  • Francis Begbie in Trainspotting. In the book version, Renton clearly outlines a number of Begbie's fantasies that his friends must indulge for their own safety. He says, "The trick was tae discreetly indulge him, without being seen as an obvious crawling suck-up." Begbie gets worse in the sequel, Porno, when he sees a "beast" (paedophile) in a pub, and proceeds to beat him to death. Spud also attempts to claim life insurance money for his family by getting Begbie to do the same to him.
  • Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy, a trait amplified by spirit effects. But even as a 5-year-old, she called her kindergarten teacher a fascist bastard and threw a book at her for making her and Lissa spell out their very long and complicated full given names.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Alejandra Medina, a rookie necromancer at an evil Wizarding School, develops this after her sister is murdered by the school's top student. Even an expression of sympathy can result in Alejandra flipping out.
  • In The Witchlands, the Nihar family is infamous for being very quick to anger, especially when it comes to Merik, who often gets furious about the most mundane of slights - though he's working on it.

  • "I threw it on the ground!"
  • On Tenacious D's first album, there was a bit where JB karate chops KG for eating his schnitzel. He also loses it and tells KG he's fired for saying that 'inward singing' isn't completely non-stop.
  • Morrissey, full-stop. The man hates everything.
  • Eminem struggled with intense anger issues that started as a result of physical brain damage.
    • His Slim Shady character originated as a way to express his pissed-off emotions in a way that he could separate from his real self, but unfortunately just resulted in him indulging Slim Shady-like behaviour in real life. In one of the many parallels between himself and Elvis Presley, he used to carry an unloaded gun with him - this led to an incident where he pistol-whipped a bouncer named John Guerra for kissing his wife. After narrowly avoiding prison due to the gun being unloaded, and taking court-mandated talk therapy for his issues, Eminem came to the conclusion he needed to grow up and behave better for the sake of his kids, and calmed down a lot, finding other outlets for his rage like taking up boxing. (Though, as of a Vulture interview in 2017, he had punched his Donkey Kong arcade cabinet hard enough to break a huge piece of plastic off it.) Much of The Eminem Show is dedicated to him realising he needs to calm down, and starting from Encore his albums become more depressive than they are belligerent.
    • Eminem has named his daughter as a particular hair trigger - during their feud, Benzino threatened Hailie's life in a song. Which made things SO MUCH WORSE.
    • Eminem's tour brand from 2000-2005 was "The Anger Management Tour".
  • Pete Townshend was known for frequent and intense bouts of anger when recording with The Who, which fortunately receded just quickly enough to keep everyone from hating him (he was a perfectionist).
  • Two verses in "Endless Vacation" by The Ramones have the phrase "hair-trigger temper" in them.
  • Elvis Presley was a big example of it (his entourage called it "flashing") — and he was a Gun Nut, a dangerous combination. However, Presley was well aware of his own short fuse and always kept the first chamber of his revolver unloaded, just in case he actually did try to shoot someone in a blind rage. There's at least one recorded instance where this habit kept him from killing a man in a public restroom.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: Poseidon, Zeus' brother and god of she sea and earthquakes, would try and take his rage out on his fellow gods for perceived slights. Zeus was the only one who could exercise any control over him, and even then walked on eggshells around him.
  • Hindu Mythology: The sage Durvasa was feared for taking offense at the slightest perceived disrespect even if none was intended or was done with good reason and using his powers to curse the unfortunate victim. People would call upon any divine favors they had to make him happy or get rid of him as soon as possible.
  • The Fair Folk brand of fairies. They more often than not will take every opportunity to punish mortals who even slightly offend them.
  • Taíno Mythology has Guabancex, goddess of storms. She's said to conjure up horrific weather to punish those who forget their heritage.

  • Ghost from Radio Grafitti is so, SO this trope, in internet radio form. Almost every Troll that calls him manages to set him off, not to mention anything that isn't capitalism. Doesn't help that he has tons of Berserk Buttons.


    Tabletop Games 
  • This is the clan weakness for the Brujah in Vampire: The Masquerade. As passionate warrior-philosophers turned modern rabble, they have a rather difficult time resisting Frenzy compared to the other clans.
  • Beast: The Primordial: This is one of the Anathemas that a Hero can place upon one of the titular Beasts. A Beast under the Rage Anathema is consumed with a fury they cannot control, even if they know that it is artificial. Outside of combat, they have severe penalties to any social interaction other than naked Intimidation, while in combat they face penalties if they try to pursue any strategy other than "charge directly at the nearest enemy and attack with all your strength".
  • The "Bad Temper" disadvantage in GURPS is this in a nutshell. Your character's stressed? Make a Will roll to not lash out at or even physically assault somebody convenient. ("Berserk" is explicitly the worse form of this and the two can't both be taken together for that reason.)

  • In Jean Kerr's parody of Mike Hammer, "Don Brown's Body" (originally staged as a revue sketch and published in Please Don't Eat the Daisies), Mike maims random strangers for doing things like asking him the time of day. "Like I say—I don't take slop from nobody."
  • Othello has one of these. Exploited relentlessly by Iago.
  • Six: The Musical: Henry VIII. He was rash, hot-tempered, and was quick to order the execution of his wives when they wronged him.
    with Henry it's never easy
    His temper's short and his mates are sleazy
  • Katerina from The Taming of the Shrew is an iconic example. Petruchio solves her problem by feigning it himself, thereby giving her a taste of her own medicine.

    Video Games 
  • It's an Informed Ability, given that we never see it happen, but Prosecutor Byrne Faraday in Ace Attorney could apparently get very nasty when he got angry over things as small as a detective showing up late to work. In fact, Prosecutor Faraday blowing up at him and docking his pay is the motive Gumshoe is assigned when he's accused of killing him. Yes, that Gumshoe.
    • Victor Kudo will use any excuse to throw seeds at people.
  • Most of the time, Yuuki Terumi from BlazBlue tries to pass himself off as a cheerful and polite Friendly Enemy... If you've slighted him, he'll very quickly transition into a blood-thirsty psychotic rage that won't subside until he has thoroughly broken you.
  • In the first Dungeon Keeper game, the Horned Reaper. When he gets annoyed he'll go berserk and start killing everything in sight. These are a few things that annoy him: Asking him to train. Asking him to work. Asking him to study. Asking him to live with other people. Not feeding him promptly. Not paying him promptly. Allowing him to pray, something that's supposed to make creatures happier. Leaving him on his own to do nothing. It helps if you drop gold on him at regular intervals.
  • Vaas in Far Cry 3 has a temper that turns on a dime from "friendly and kooky" to "insane murderous rage" and back again, often during the same conversation. The fact he's the leader of a vicious group of murderers and people-smugglers doesn't really improve his victim's chances any.
  • Kratos from the God of War series is almost always furious, angry, pissed off, enraged, or something in between. The only exceptions are rare moments of reflection or moments with his family. In flashbacks before any of the games, he would fly into rages that scared his daughter and only his wife was willing to stand up to. Anything that irks him or does not immediately go his way switches him to barely controlled rage at best. Mercifully, after the destruction he causes over the course of the first three games, he has something of a Heel Realization and is actively working to improve his temper by the time of God of War (PS4).
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has Ryder, Pulaski, and Catalina, all three have extremely short tempers and unpredictable behaviors.
    • Ricardo Diaz from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, who kicked down a TV after losing a bet on a horse race, shot down birds who crapped on his property, and shot the VCR when it wouldn't work, oblivious to the fact that it wasn't even plugged in.
    • Come the fifth installment of the series and we now have Mr. Trevor Phillips, who makes the four previous examples look like a bunch of harmless girl scouts by comparison. In fact, his rampage missions intentionally invoke this trope by having him go on a massive killing spree as a result of being provoked by some very minor insults (whether it be mocking his Canadian heritage or just approaching him while wearing a t-shirt he doesn't like).
  • In a similar vein, the Scarfies from the Kirby games. At first, they're floating puppy heads, but if Kirby tries to eat one, they'll turn into scary cyclops hell-hounds that will chase him until they explode.
  • In The Legend of Zelda game Hyrule Warriors, Cuccos are short-tempered, even more so than in the other games. Some Adventure Mode battles will have two cuccos fighting for territory in a random base. Interrupt and the base gets sealed off, with you asked to "survive until the cuccos calm down."
  • Jack in Mass Effect 2, and although in most situations according to the backstory she would tear any poor bastard apart for almost any perceived or real slight against her, she luckily keeps to shouting aboard the Normandy.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, some Orc captains have the trait "Enraged by Everything", which causes them to go berserk at the slightest provocation.
  • Monster Hunter: Almost all large monsters will try to rip your throat out upon so much as catching wind of you, complete with a characteristic "!" and Scare Chord. In the fifth generation, it's mostly averted for monsters that don't have their own special arena, with even the more violent monsters either passing you by completely or giving you a chance to get out of their way before they flip out, but there's one notable exception: Rajang. This angry ape won't even give you the courtesy of a Roar Before Beating like most monsters, it'll just pounce on you as soon as its theme music kicks in, fists flying, and beat the everloving snot out of you. Furthermore, while most monsters become enraged when you deal enough damage to them, or in a few cases do something in particular to tick them off, Rajang will fly off the handle and launch straight into its Golden Super Mode at a moment's notice.
  • Neptunia has Blanc/White Heart. While normally calm-looking at first glance, she tends to snap into a rage (complete with the shaded face and glowing red eyes) when someone presses her Berserk Buttons (either her books being messed up, her sisters being threatened, or her chest size being brought up), with some additional vulgarity to boot.
  • Octogeddon's titular octopus will get extremely angry at the drop of a hat. An award for best octopus given to a dolphin instead of a real octopus? Let's raze Paris and the Eiffel Tower in retaliation!
  • In the Pokémon game series, there is a Fighting-type pig monkey Pokémon called Primeape. The species as a whole will lose their temper as a response to anything and will chase the cause of their anger until they catch it and beat it bloody. Its first form, Mankey, is pretty quick to fly off the handle, too. Primeape can even die if it's enraged enough. This translates to its evolution Annihilape. In order to evolve, it must use the move Rage Fist 20 times, thus making it angrier. Upon evolving, it even becomes a ghost-type.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: If you have high Honor, Arthur Morgan is a bit of a hothead, but can restrain himself fairly well. Conversely, Low-Honor Arthur is a terrifying lunatic who blows up at any provocation. Played for Drama, as demonstrated in a potential conversation where Arthur tearfully admits he doesn’t even really know why he keeps hurting people for next-to-no reason; he just gets so angry and scared in stressful situations that he lashes out, practically on reflex.
    • Dutch's Sanity Slippage is marked by his previously controlled temper turning downright volcanic, flying off the handle at every setback and threatening or attacking for even the slightest offense. The plot is kicked off when he loses his shit over a heist going wrong, blowing some poor woman's head off for no apparent reason and forcing the gang to flee Blackwater.
  • Rengoku: Minos in the second game is said to attack anyone he's angry at before even thinking and hates everyone for increasing the heat on the floor. It reflects his human life's impulsive nature.
  • Sengoku Basara: Mitsunari the Dark King is pretty moody at the best of times, but enforces the death sentence for every "crime" he encounters, such as, for instance, telling him "no".
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004): Olaf's troupe start off being unusually aggressive towards the Baudelaires in Olaf's manor. The Bald Man became agitated with Klaus for interrupting him during his meal, the Hook-Handed Man demanded to know what the kids were doing in a hallway, and the White-faced Women were annoyed with the children entering the parlor while they were rehearsing. All three of these incidents result in the henchmen attacking the children.
  • The Sims: Starting from the third game, Sims can have the trait "Hot-headed", which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Their rage is infectious, too- they can provoke other Sims using the "Rile Up" interaction.
  • Wigglers from the Super Mario Bros. games are cute, giant caterpillars with flowers on their heads. If you jump on them note , they'll get enraged and move faster.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Demoman has one, at least when he's drunk. This is unfortunate since he is also The Alcoholic.
  • Tomodachi Life's babies can go from as happy as can be to absolutely miserable the instant you decide to return to the main island overview. Adult Miis are also easily angered (sometimes with flames coming out of their heads and heavy metal playing).

    Web Animation 
  • Many flash cartoons feature mass fighting where characters can be provoked even by bumping into them.
  • Bowser's Kingdom: Paul Hammerbro is notorious for having this. Just don't dent his winged platform or do anything to upset him.
  • Dreamscape: Betty is quick to flip her lid and has a foul mouth to boot.
    • Aseir is quick to lash out if you push his buttons or bring up his vulnerabilities.
    • Pita has got an even shorter fuse than Betty. If he feels like he is being slighted in any way or if someone is doing something he disagrees with, he will flip out.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Dave is a violent guy and has a real short fuse. Something that really sends him over the edge is anyone who disrespects sports or his shop, which includes using equipment like weapons, will be subject to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. This trait is even shared with his pet golem Bentley.
    • Subverted with the Blood Knight Killer. Unlike Dave, he doesn't lose his cool or waste his time with petty violence.
      Amber: Killer may seem like he has a short temper, but he is actually extremely calm. The only thing that lights him up is a fight or competition.
  • GoAnimate:
    • The police in many videos are quite ill-tempered and will arrest people over trivial matters, up to and including walking up to litter.
    • Caillou and Boris too, especially under Isaac Anderson (especially Caillou) or OfficerPoop247 (especially Boris). They both also crossover with Ax-Crazy (and often The Sociopath). Dora's parents qualify as well, crossing with Abusive Parents, often telling to her face that they wish she was never born/call her derogatory or obscene names.
      • Heck, almost ANY troublemaker/their parents have one, but Caillou and Boris are still the most prominent examples. Their parents sometimes outright kill their kid.
    • If it's Matt the GoAnimator, and the troublemaker is Arthur, expect a foul-mouthed scumbag with a nasty temper.
    • One frequently used plot in the grounded videos is the troublesome kid being taken to a fast-food restaurant like McDonald's or Burger King. The instant the kid is told that the restaurant is out of something they wanted to get (often something inconsequential like one specific flavor of milkshake), the kid completely and utterly explodes with rage and levels the place.
  • Inanimate Insanity has Paintbrush who, thanks to their Competition Freak status being the result of their lazy teamates, tends to get so angry that their bristles catch on fire.
  • Kirby Guardian: BitterOne has a habit of getting mad about practically everything. He flips out when Adeleine gets a piece of art he and the other Kirbies made for her stolen by a bird, he sees a cloud that looks like a worm and angrily images Adeline violently trying to crush worms, and he mercilessly destroys a painting he made despite it getting awe out of Adeleine and his fellow Kirbies.
    • King Dedede is a good person, and nice to Adeline, but was never given a chance for redemption
  • Manga Women's Eden: The titular Rika from What happens to a "Minefield Girl" when she turns 40...? is a moody young woman into jirai-kei fashionnote , which leads to men avoiding her to protect themselves. The reason is shown when she dates Kenji, whom she verbally abuses for everything until he breaks up with her.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: Brittnay Matthews is this trope embodied. So is Mackenzie Zales's mother. The former only holds back against genuinely nice people.
  • Object Terror has Printer, the host, thanks to his mood swings. He can go from calm to extremely pissed when provoked, and he can pretty much get provoked by anything.
  • RWBY: Yang Xiao Long has a literal hair-trigger temper: she's feisty, Hot-Blooded in combat, and she will lay you out like a bath mat if you harm one strand of her golden locks.

  • Ennui GO!: This is one of Noah's main traits; he'll be triggered into ranting rage by almost anything, and several strips are just him venting about various things. Doc Glasgow mentions that he gets it from his father, Hamish.
  • Freefall: Doctor Bowman has this problem, and he's so aware of it he takes active measures against it while he's still calm, and warns everyone around of it. Justified, too; it's partly because of his species being like that naturally, and partly because faulty uplifting techniques left him with zero impulse control, so as soon as he gets slightly mad and considers violence he's already committing it.
  • Homestuck: Karkat Vantas tries to come off as the living embodiment of this trope, and he's certainly it verbally... physically, not so much. Also, most of his temperamentality is directed at himself.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: Dana is very easy to set off, which is one of the many reasons why her subordinates fear her so much. It's actually her weakness, though: the angrier she gets, the weaker her power becomes as well.
  • Ladies In Waiting: It doesn't take much to make Olivia snap into a rage, as evidenced by this strip.
  • Namesake: Warrick has this ever since he removed his heart.
  • The Senkari: Freija, though she claims early on she can control her temper, frequently suffers from rather monumental fits of rage, often combined with physical violence.
  • Slightly Damned: This is a trait ubiquitous to the fire demons (with the exception of Buwaro) and Azurai exemplifies it the best as he will kill at the slightest provocation, even when he's not supposed to.
  • Sturgeon's Law: Marissa has problems dealing with her anger constructively.
  • Undead Friend: Wylie is extremely easy to piss off and blows up frequently.
  • Waterworks: Connie, the protagonist, gets angry rather easily... usually with destructive results; as it turns out, this is pretty much the main reason she has barely any friends, let alone a boyfriend.

    Web Original 
  • Can You Spare a Quarter?: Jamie's parents would blow up at the most trivial things and beat him up.
  • Zhang Fei in Farce of the Three Kingdoms. "Zhang Fei, calm your tits!" is his allies' refrain. His own redshirts end up killing him because he's such a Jerkass.
  • Lightning Dust: Andy regulates his breathing in order to keep his temper under control.
  • Springhole: Syera often talks about how easily-irked people should not have certain jobs (e.g. being a servant).
  • Tales of MU:
  • Worm: Several important characters have temper issues:
    • Danny Hebert, the protagonist's father, has a violent temper that he keeps tightly in check; his father didn't, and he doesn't want to be like him.
    • Bitch is an obvious example, being easily angered and quick to get physical; interestingly, this is mostly a coping mechanism she uses because she can't read social cues, like sarcasm.
    • Shadow Stalker also has a violent temper, both in costume and in her civilian identity.

    Web Videos 
  • This video portraying a guy who not only goes off like he's possessed because his WoW account is cancelled, but because he is losing a game in another video. There are loads of other videos showing him throwing various other temper tantrums over silly things. One particularly egregious example is when he's auditioning for a company's advertisement and the director happens to use the word "gay" in a sentence while coincidentally gesticulating towards the kid. Cue a HUGE temper outburst, "HE POINTED AT ME WHEN HE SAID GAY!" and breaking everything in the room.
  • The infamous Halo 2 video "Croyt's Anger". Among others, he loses it when he gets taken out just after getting a triple kill(even though he's been getting shot the whole time), and the heavens themselves tremble when he gets standbyed.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd. Anger is literally part of his name! The Nerd tends to have grossly overblown reactions to bad video games, doing everything from going into very detailed descriptions of things he'd rather do than play the games, to utterly destroying the game cartridges. This temper even caused him to destroy a golden cartridge of Nintendo World Championships, of which there are only twelve on the planet. (Well, eleven now.)
  • Achievement Hunter's Michael Jones has a tendency to get very riled up while playing video games (and even has his own series entitled Rage Quit), which can very easily deteriorate into this trope, but other than that he's a perfectly nice guy.
  • The Hitler Rants videos mostly revolve around Adolf Hitler flipping his shit at nearly everything, whether it's pop culture, his Zany Scheme of the day failing, Fegelein's antics or Jodl's objections.
  • Plenty is said about Master Zen from the Noob franchise knowing that his background story includes Appliance Defenestration that, thanks to an old lady standing under the window at the time, ended up being Accidental Murder. What had enraged him was the chronic stupidity of one of his guildmates. Once escaped from jail, his story arc is basically a long string of Disproportionate Retribution. The novels mention him being physically abusive of his hardware before the "incident" while his appearance in a comic flash-back shows him yelling all the time.
  • In Sam & Mickey's videos, Barbie can get angered pretty easily.
  • Low Tier God is infamous for blowing a gasket whenever he loses in fighting games, and banning viewers from his streams for any reason, including (but not limited to) criticism of any kind, complimenting opponents who beat him, having a username or avatar he does not like, mentioning a character he does not like, being black, or even just his being in a foul mood.
  • Sgt Ducky: Ducky is quick to anger when it comes to his retail stories as he gets enraged by the sheer stupidity of customer requests and complaints.
  • SuperMarioLogan: Jeffy became this due to Flanderization. Punishing him, calling him "bad" or anything will make him slip into swearing tantrums.


Donald Duck

Donald Duck is famous for losing his temper when things get out of hand for him.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HairTriggerTemper

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