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[his-tree-on-ik] /ˌhɪs triˈɒn ɪk/
adjective, Also, histrionical
of or relating to actors or acting.
deliberately affected or self-consciously emotional; overly dramatic, in behavior or speech.
an actor.
Origin of histrionic
1640-50; < Late Latin histrōnicus of actors, equivalent to histriōn- (stem of histriō) actor (said to be < Etruscan) + -icus -ic
Related forms
histrionically, adverb
nonhistrionic, adjective
nonhistrionical, adjective
nonhistrionically, adverb
nonhistrionicalness, noun
unhistrionic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for histrionic
  • Pictorial beauty, histrionic beauty and dramatic beauty are consistently sustained through all its scenes.
  • She is indeed a menace, cleverly disguised as a histrionic, self-centered belle from Georgia.
  • It's just a histrionic and inaccurate way to say they think taxes are too high.
  • Her sense of humor carries over into her singing, which is fearlessly histrionic with a strong element of self-parody.
  • Some of the acting and imagery become histrionic toward the end.
  • Any one of his sermons is both a histrionic work of art and an unforgettable emotional experience.
  • Alvarez reminds herself-and readers-that at some point we were all confused, histrionic adolescents.
  • Given his peculiar histrionic and oratorical talents it is not surprising that he was highly successful.
  • Mom figured she had witnessed an unusually histrionic tantrum with an unusually messy aftermath.
  • He guided the show with aplomb and appeared to enjoy all that was going on around him without being histrionic.
British Dictionary definitions for histrionic


excessively dramatic, insincere, or artificial: histrionic gestures
(rare) dramatic
(pl) melodramatic displays of temperament
(rare) (pl, functioning as singular) dramatics
Derived Forms
histrionically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin histriōnicus of a player, from histriō actor
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 histrionic

"theatrical" (figuratively, "hypocritical"), 1640s, from Latin histrionicus "pertaining to an actor," from histrio (genitive histrionis) "actor," said to be of Etruscan origin. The literal sense in English is from 1759.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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