hys·​ter·​e·​sis | \ ˌhi-stə-ˈrē-səs How to pronounce hysteresis (audio) \
plural hystereses\ ˌhi-​stə-​ˈrē-​ˌsēz How to pronounce hysteresis (audio) \

Definition of hysteresis

physics : a retardation of an effect when the forces acting upon a body are changed (as if from viscosity or internal friction) all manometers must be tested for hysteresis as well as for sensitivity and natural frequency— H. D. Green especially : a lagging in the values of resulting magnetization in a magnetic material (such as iron) due to a changing magnetizing force

Other Words from hysteresis

hysteretic \ ˌhi-​stə-​ˈre-​tik How to pronounce hysteresis (audio) \ adjective

Examples of hysteresis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Economists borrowed the term hysteresis from the physics of magnetism. Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, 25 Feb. 2021 For many years, economists have looked for evidence of hysteresis in labor markets. Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, 25 Feb. 2021 But their data suggested that hysteresis was still happening. Siobhan Roberts, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2020 There’s some heated (so to speak) debate about what really causes hysteresis. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 22 Apr. 2020 These objects become permanently magnetized, through a process called hysteresis. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 7 Dec. 2019 Paleoclimatologists said this hysteresis might explain other puzzles about the paleoclimate record. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, 3 Mar. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of hysteresis

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hysteresis

New Latin, from Greek hysterēsis shortcoming, from hysterein to be late, fall short, from hysteros later — more at out entry 1

Learn More About hysteresis

Time Traveler for hysteresis

Time Traveler

The first known use of hysteresis was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near hysteresis



hysteresis coefficient

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hysteresis

Cite this Entry

“Hysteresis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysteresis. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for hysteresis


hys·​ter·​e·​sis | \ ˌhis-tə-ˈrē-səs How to pronounce hysteresis (audio) \
plural hystereses\ -​ˌsēz How to pronounce hysteresis (audio) \

Medical Definition of hysteresis

1 : the lagging of a physical effect on a body behind its cause (as behind changed forces and conditions) all manometers must be tested for hysteresis as well as for sensitivity and natural frequency— H. D. Green
2a : the influence of the previous history or treatment of a body on its subsequent response to a given force or changed condition a study has been made of the phenomenon of rennet hysteresis, in which the time of coagulation of heated milk is progressively greater with increase in the time interval between heating and addition of rennet— J. S. Fruton
b : the changed response of a body that results from this influence

More from Merriam-Webster on hysteresis

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hysteresis


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!