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From hysteric +‎ -al, from Latin hystericus, from Ancient Greek ὑστερικός ‎(husterikós, suffering in the womb, hysterical), from ὑστερά ‎(husterá, womb).


  • IPA(key): /hɪ ˈstɛrɪkəl/


hysterical ‎(comparative more hysterical, superlative most hysterical)

  1. Of, or arising from hysteria.
  2. Having, or prone to having hysterics.
  3. Provoking uncontrollable laughter.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, The Mirror and the Lamp[1]:
      She was a fat, round little woman, richly apparelled in velvet and lace, […]; and the way she laughed, cackling like a hen, the way she talked to the waiters and the maid, […]—all these unexpected phenomena impelled one to hysterical mirth, and made one class her with such immortally ludicrous types as Ally Sloper, the Widow Twankey, or Miss Moucher.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Like many terms that start with a non-silent h but have emphasis on their second syllable, some people precede hysterical with an, others with a.

Related terms[edit]


External links[edit]

  • hysterical in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • hysterical at OneLook Dictionary Search