his·​tri·​on·​ic | \ ˌhi-strē-ˈä-nik How to pronounce histrionic (audio) \

Definition of histrionic

1 : deliberately affected : overly dramatic or emotional : theatrical histrionic gestures a tendency to become histrionic
2 : of or relating to actors, acting, or the theater seeking histrionic perfection

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Other Words from histrionic

histrionically \ ˌhi-​strē-​ˈä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce histrionically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for histrionic



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Choose the Right Synonym for histrionic

dramatic, theatrical, histrionic, melodramatic mean having a character or an effect like that of acted plays. dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply. a dramatic meeting of world leaders theatrical implies a crude appeal through artificiality or exaggeration in gesture or vocal expression. a theatrical oration histrionic applies to tones, gestures, and motions and suggests a deliberate affectation or staginess. a histrionic show of grief melodramatic suggests an exaggerated emotionalism or an inappropriate theatricalism. made a melodramatic plea

Did You Know?

The term "histrionic" developed from "histrio," Latin for actor. Something that is "histrionic" tends to remind one of the high drama of stage and screen and is often stagy and over-the-top. It especially calls to mind the theatrical form known as the "melodrama," where plot and physical action, not characterization, are emphasized. But something that is "histrionic" isn't always overdone; the word might simply refer to an actor or something related to the theater. In that sense, it becomes a synonym of "thespian."

Examples of histrionic in a Sentence

a penchant for dish throwing, door slamming, and other histrionic displays of temper we never tired of his histrionic reenactment of how he found money under the floorboards of a house he was renovating
Recent Examples on the Web Opposition to the project, loud and histrionic, has come from a variety of quarters. Hari Kunzru, The New York Review of Books, "The Wages of Whiteness," 8 Sep. 2020 Denis bolted down the stairs in what seemed to me like histrionic distress. Bill Buford, The New Yorker, "Baking Bread in Lyon," 6 Apr. 2020 That, roughly speaking, is the thesis of a group of writers who, since Trump’s election in 2016, have chastised the left for its supposedly histrionic excesses. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Strange Liberal Backlash to Woke Culture," 25 Nov. 2019 Checking the news compulsively and reading every random, poorly sourced and histrionic tweet will only add to your anxiety. Jessica Grose, New York Times, "Parents Need Stress Relief, Too," 18 Mar. 2020 His father was a histrionic type, eternally crouched against imagined (and experienced) tragedy. Robin Romm, Wired, "'Hi Dad, It's Me. Please Buy Lots of Soup'," 11 Mar. 2020 And their histrionic mother Shelly (Judith Light) has embraced life as an amateur actor. Robyn Bahr, Billboard, "'Transparent: Musicale Finale': TV Review," 18 Sep. 2019 And their histrionic mother Shelly (Judith Light) has embraced life as an amateur actor. Robyn Bahr, Billboard, "'Transparent: Musicale Finale': TV Review," 18 Sep. 2019 In the hours before the House voted, Republican lawmakers rushed to the floor Wednesday to depict Trump in historical and histrionic terms of unjust persecution. NBC News, "Trump pays a historic price for doing business his way: Impeachment," 19 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'histrionic.' 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 histrionic

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for histrionic

Late Latin histrionicus, from Latin histrion-, histrio actor

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Time Traveler for histrionic

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The first known use of histrionic was in 1648

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Histrionic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/histrionic. Accessed 19 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for histrionic


How to pronounce histrionic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of histrionic

disapproving : too emotional or dramatic

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Nglish: Translation of histrionic for Spanish Speakers

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