9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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 hysterical
  • Neglected by her mostly absent father, she suffered from acute depression, hysterical fits and addiction to opium.
  • While the incident is both hysterical and sort of pathetic, it happens more often than you might think.
  • Amid the hysterical chatter over the global war on terrorism, he never lost sight of the larger issues of strategy.
  • The hysterical reaction of some members of the community is a further blow.
  • Quite a few people are crying and hysterical.
  • The hair and clothing fashions of the 80's are hysterical.
  • Many of those articles are one-sided, inaccurate and verging on the hysterical.
  • He went out, trembling all over from a sort of wild hysterical sensation, in which there was an element of insufferable rapture.
  • Tad had grown attached to the bird and was hysterical when he heard it was going to be killed.
  • No gunshots, no victims writhing in pain, no hysterical witnesses.
British Dictionary definitions for hysterical


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 hysterical

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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