hysterical

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

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

PronunciationEdit

AdjectiveEdit

hysterical (comparative more hysterical, superlative most hysterical)

  1. Of, or arising from hysteria.
    • 1848', William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 16:
      An event of this nature, a marriage, or a refusal, or a proposal, thrills through a whole household of women, and sets all their hysterical sympathies at work.
  2. Having, or prone to having hysterics.
  3. Provoking uncontrollable laughter.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in 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.
    • 2016 February 6, James Zogby, “Israel’s prickliness blocks the long quest for peace”, in The National[2]:
      There is a certain irony in all of this because in their hysterical use of charge of “double standard” – that Israel is being “singled out for criticism”– it is Israel’s supporters who are themselves guilty of a “double standard”, since, if they were to have their way, it is Israel that would be singled out as the only country that cannot be criticised.

Usage notesEdit

  • 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 termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

Further readingEdit

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