hysteria

noun
hys·​te·​ria | \ hi-ˈster-ē-ə How to pronounce hysteria (audio) , -ˈstir- How to pronounce hysteria (audio) \

Definition of hysteria

1 : a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychogenic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral (see visceral sense 4) functions
2 : behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess political hysteria The plague had caused mass hysteria in the village.

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Examples of hysteria in a Sentence

A few of the children began to scream, and soon they were all caught up in the hysteria. Wartime hysteria led to many unfair accusations of treachery. The spreading of the disease caused mass hysteria in the village.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Once the war began, such paranoid chatter was encouraged by George Creel’s Committee on Public Information, which whipped up a nationwide wave of anti-German hysteria. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The “Star-Spangled Banner” Controversy That Altered the Course of American Music," 2 July 2019 Yes, Chelsea fans may be caught up in Frank Lampard hysteria right now, but the likely return of the club's greatest goalscorer won't instantly solve all of their very pressing problems. SI.com, "6 Positions Chelsea Must Strengthen (From Within) to Compete Next Season," 26 June 2019 Duke’s administration and a large swath of the faculty incited hysteria against a few young men accused of a rape that never happened. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Oberlin has graduated from self-caricature to disgrace," 20 June 2019 Stories will be missed, facts will go unchecked, tales will go untold — and partisan echo chambers and social-media hysteria will rush into the void. Rob Byers, Time, "Only You Have the Power to Save Your Local News from Corporate Vultures," 14 Apr. 2018 The publication accused representatives of hysteria. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "In the Trump era, the lawyer jokes are on us," 31 May 2019 How much to you think his decision to resign was driven by the media hysteria. Fox News, "Democrats target SCOTUS candidate Amy Coney Barrett," 6 July 2018 This otherwise normal person was driven to hysteria! Constance Grady, Vox, "The author of Friday Black explains why he reimagined Black Friday as a zombie plague," 23 Nov. 2018 Naharin then takes us through a wild prayer circle, a duo of mutual consolation and a final, body-shaking return to mass dance hysteria. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "REVIEW: Don't dawdle at 'Spring Works' intermission or you'll miss some of the heat ...," 26 Apr. 2018

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

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hysteria

New Latin, from English hysteric, adjective, from Latin hystericus, from Greek hysterikos, from hystera womb; from the Greek notion that hysteria was peculiar to women and caused by disturbances of the uterus

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Statistics for hysteria

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hysteria

The first known use of hysteria was in 1801

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More Definitions for hysteria

hysteria

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hysteria

: a state in which your emotions (such as fear) are so strong that you behave in an uncontrolled way
: a situation in which many people behave or react in an extreme or uncontrolled way because of fear, anger, etc.

hysteria

noun
hys·​te·​ria | \ hi-ˈster-ē-ə How to pronounce hysteria (audio) \

Kids Definition of hysteria

: a state in which emotions (as fear or joy) are so strong that a person acts in an uncontrolled way

hysteria

noun
hys·​te·​ria | \ his-ˈter-ē-ə How to pronounce hysteria (audio) , -ˈtir- How to pronounce hysteria (audio) \

Medical Definition of hysteria

1a : a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions without an organic basis
b : a similar condition in domestic animals
2 : behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess

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Comments on hysteria

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