hysteria

play
noun hys·te·ria \hi-ˈster-ē-ə, -ˈstir-\

Definition of hysteria

  1. 1 :  a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychogenic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral (see visceral 4) functions

  2. 2 :  behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess political hysteria The plague had caused mass hysteria in the village.

Examples of hysteria in a Sentence

  1. A few of the children began to scream, and soon they were all caught up in the hysteria.

  2. Wartime hysteria led to many unfair accusations of treachery.

  3. The spreading of the disease caused mass hysteria in the village.

Recent Examples of hysteria from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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


HYSTERIA Defined for English Language Learners

hysteria

play
noun

Definition of hysteria for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

hysteria

play
noun hys·te·ria \hi-ˈster-ē-ə\

Definition of hysteria for Students

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


Medical Dictionary

hysteria

play play
noun hys·te·ria \his-ˈter-ē-ə, -ˈtir-\

Medical Definition of hysteria

  1. 1a:  a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions without an organic basisb:  a similar condition in domestic animals

  2. 2:  behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hysteria? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to become worse as time passes

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Emoji Quiz

  • emoji-the-quiz
  • What phase of the moon is this: 🌖 ?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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