de·​lir·​i·​um | \ di-ˈlir-ē-əm How to pronounce delirium (audio) \

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 tabloid delirium that followed Sunny von Bülow’s mysterious coma may have left her children reeling, but Ala and Alexander resolved to become activists. Carl Swanson, Town & Country, "How Sunny Von Bulow's Daughter Ala Isham Found Her Voice," 14 Mar. 2019 For weeks, Albert's health had been going downhill, devolving into fever and delirium. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "How Did Queen Victoria's Husband Prince Albert Die?," 4 Mar. 2019 Immobility during a hospital stay is linked to delirium, long-term disabilities and hospital readmission, and is widely considered a preventable aliment. Lisa Ward, WSJ, "Do Doctors and Nurses Skip Hand Washing? Cue the Video," 28 May 2018 In addition to all that, rapid heartbeat or breathing, sunken eyes, fever, confusion, or delirium can all be signs of severe dehydration. Amy Marturana, SELF, "Here’s Exactly How Much Water You Should Drink Every Day," 2 Jan. 2019 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

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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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 How to pronounce delirium (audio) \

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 How to pronounce delirium (audio) \

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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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