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 The streets emptied as hysteria paralyzed the city. Randy Roberts And Johnny Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, "When Babe Ruth and the Great Influenza Gripped Boston," 30 Apr. 2020 In the weeks since that last outing, my temperament has ranged from eerily calm to complete hysteria. Keyaira Kelly, Essence, "How To Navigate the Pandemic When You And Your Partner Have Different Coping Styles," 17 Apr. 2020 These are truly uncharted waters, and reactions around the world have run the gamut, from hysteria to apathy. Michelle Lee, Allure, "We Were About to Publish Our First Global Beauty Issue. Then a Pandemic Hit," 13 Apr. 2020 But our country has a population so huge that issues of miscommunication and mass hysteria are bound to arise. Ritoban Mukherjee, Quartz, "Apocalyptic sci-fi is helping me cope with the Covid-19 crisis—yes, really," 8 Apr. 2020 The annual Ohio-Kentucky All-Star basketball games, an annual staple of hoops hysteria at Thomas More University, have been canceled. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Coronavirus in Kentucky: Catch up on NKY headlines ahead of Gov. Beshear's 5 p.m. update," 6 Apr. 2020 Outside the vortex of hysteria that is social media, there’s no more reliable gauge of the national mood at any given moment than late-night talk shows. Judy Berman, Time, "Why Losing Late-Night Talk Shows to Coronavirus Feels Especially Bleak," 16 Mar. 2020 But the data must be filtered carefully, as search queries can reflect hysteria as much as a real epidemic. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "How A.I. is aiding the coronavirus fight," 16 Mar. 2020 This article on vaping hysteria by Amanda Chicago Lewis, which is very long but very fascinating, plus the dinner party scene at the end is a perfect portrait of the LA wellness set. Amanda Shapiro, Bon Appétit, "How to Turn a Vegetable Into a Meal," 6 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for hysteria

Time Traveler

The first known use of hysteria was in 1801

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Statistics for hysteria

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hysteria.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysteria. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for hysteria

hysteria

noun
How to pronounce hysteria (audio) How to pronounce hysteria (audio)

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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