de·​lir·​i·​um | \ di-ˈlir-ē-əm \

Definition of delirium

1 : an acute (see acute sense 1a(2)) mental disturbance characterized by confused thinking and disrupted attention usually accompanied by disordered speech and hallucinations
2 : frenzied excitement he would stride about his room in a delirium of joy— Thomas Wolfe a crowd in a state of delirium

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Examples of delirium in a Sentence

In her delirium, nothing she said made any sense. shoppers running around in a delirium the day before Christmas

Recent Examples on the Web

The fifth, so soon after, turned the mood into something else again, into something closer to delirium. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Russia, Five Goals and One Big Sigh of Relief," 14 June 2018 Russia, the lowest ranked team in the World Cup at no. 70 in the world, hung on and hung on to the 1-1 scoreline before a flawlessly converting all their penalties to send the country into delirium., "7 of the Craziest Moments in World Cup History," 3 July 2018 Side effects of the drug can include changes in blood pressure and heart rate, delirium, agitation, confusion and hallucinations, said Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. Christopher Mele, New York Times, "Ketamine Used to Subdue Dozens at Request of Minneapolis Police, Report Says," 16 June 2018 The medical examiner ruled excited delirium as the cause of Trammell’s death. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No discipline likely for West Milwaukee cops who tased man 18 times, police chief says," 27 Apr. 2018 Excited delirium is a controversial condition often cited when police use force. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No discipline likely for West Milwaukee cops who tased man 18 times, police chief says," 27 Apr. 2018 The goal only bought Russia eight minutes of delirium. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Russia Is Out of the Russian World Cup," 7 July 2018 Akinfeev guessed right to stop Spain’s third kick from Koke, then produced an incredible stop with his outstretched left cleat to keep out Iago Aspas, sending the stadium – and the country – into delirium. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Whatever happens, Vladimir Putin is winning the World Cup," 1 July 2018 For some on the left and indeed on the right, polarization has become a drug that produces a pleasurable political delirium. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Kavanaugh and the Culture Wars," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'delirium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of delirium

circa 1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for delirium

Latin, from delirare to be crazy, literally, to leave the furrow (in plowing), from de- + lira furrow — more at learn

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Statistics for delirium

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for delirium

The first known use of delirium was circa 1563

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More Definitions for delirium



English Language Learners Definition of delirium

: a mental state in which you are confused and not able to think or speak clearly usually because of fever or some other illness

: a state of wild excitement and great happiness


de·​lir·​i·​um | \ di-ˈlir-ē-əm \

Kids Definition of delirium

1 : a condition of mind in which thought and speech are confused usually because of a high fever or other illness
2 : wild excitement


de·​lir·​i·​um | \ di-ˈlir-ē-əm \

Medical Definition of delirium

: a mental disturbance characterized by confusion, disordered speech, and hallucinations

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Comments on delirium

What made you want to look up delirium? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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