hys·​ter·​e·​sis ˌhi-stə-ˈrē-səs How to pronounce hysteresis (audio)
plural hystereses ˌhi-stə-ˈrē-ˌsēz How to pronounce hysteresis (audio)
physics : a slowing 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 frequencyH. D. Green
especially : a lagging in the values of resulting magnetization in a magnetic material (such as iron) due to a changing magnetizing force
hysteretic adjective

Examples of hysteresis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Consequently, eliminating this hysteresis is a promising step toward ensuring the long-term performance of perovskite cells, and Bisquert expects that others working on perovskite solar cells will want to try Seok’s new recipe. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Jan. 2015 Efficiencies are often measured by plotting a curve of current against voltage—but for perovskites, the curves differ depending on whether the voltage is increasing or decreasing, an anomaly known as hysteresis that may have led to overestimates of perovskite performance in the past. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Jan. 2015 Indeed, the team speculate that the hysteresis curve is characteristic of the type of alcohol used to create the insulating layer. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 30 Nov. 2021 These objects become permanently magnetized, through a process called hysteresis. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 29 Mar. 2023 This kind of hysteresis is common: Kill one too many top predators in an ecosystem, for instance, and the altered dynamics might cause the prey population to suddenly explode; add a predator back again and the prey population stays elevated. Ben Brubaker, Quanta Magazine, 15 Sep. 2022 The result is a hysteresis curve that, in each cycle, preserves a memory of the preceding current. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 30 Nov. 2021 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hysteresis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1882, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hysteresis was in 1882

Dictionary Entries Near hysteresis

Cite this Entry

“Hysteresis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysteresis. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


hys·​ter·​e·​sis ˌhis-tə-ˈrē-səs How to pronounce hysteresis (audio)
plural hystereses -ˌsēz How to pronounce hysteresis (audio)
: 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 frequencyH. D. Green
: 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 rennetJ. S. Fruton
: the changed response of a body that results from this influence

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