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[hi-ster-i-kuh l] /hɪˈstɛr ɪ kəl/
of, relating to, or characterized by hysteria.
uncontrollably emotional.
irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock.
causing hysteria.
suffering from or subject to hysteria.
causing unrestrained laughter; very funny:
Oh, that joke is hysterical!
Origin of hysterical
1605-15; < Latin hysteric(us) hysteric + -al1
Related forms
hysterically, adverb
overhysterical, adjective
posthysterical, adjective
semihysterical, adjective
semihysterically, adverb
unhysterical, adjective
unhysterically, adverb
Can be confused
historic, historical, hysterical.
6. hilarious, uproarious, laughable, ludicrous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hysterically
  • His first two items directly, and hysterically, conflict with one another.
  • She stopped running, and leaned against a tree to laugh hysterically.
  • Audiences found her mimicry of my pronunciation of l and r as w hysterically funny.
  • So guilty does the commander feel, that he begins to suffer a mental breakdown and becomes hysterically paralyzed.
  • Lots of dolls, especially one that cackled hysterically and kicked up her legs when you waved a hand near her chubby cheeks.
  • The complaint told the judge that he had been recording this conversation, and the judge began laughing hysterically.
  • Some witnesses said she acted hysterically, screaming and crying.
  • The subject continued to move closer to edge while crying hysterically.
  • He hysterically relayed to the fire fighters that his two brothers and one sister were still trapped in the building.
  • One night, acting erratically and hysterically, the father went to the summerhouse.
British Dictionary definitions for hysterically


of or suggesting hysteria: hysterical cries
suffering from hysteria
(informal) wildly funny
Derived Forms
hysterically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hysterically



1610s, from Latin hystericus "of the womb," from Greek hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Meaning "very funny" (by 1939) is from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter. Related: Hysterically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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