hys·​ter·​i·​cal | \hi-ˈster-i-kəl \

Definition of hysterical 

1 : of, relating to, or marked by hysteria hysterical conditions

2 : feeling or showing extreme and unrestrained emotion hysterical fans … the paper did not hesitate to appeal to racial passions in hysterical headlines and rabid editorials.The New Yorker

3 informal : very funny a hysterical movie/joke

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Other Words from hysterical

hysterically \ hi-​ˈster-​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of hysterical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The only way to sustain the hysteria is to denounce the un-hysterical as complicit bystanders to the alleged scandal. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Seeing Through the Fog of Outrage Surrounding the Mueller Probe," 31 Jan. 2018 Social media’s echo chambers have given the issue particularly hysterical and toxic undertones. Karina Piser, The New Republic, "Inside France’s Growing Identity War," 29 May 2018 There actually aren’t a lot of highlights, but there is hysterical footage of Robinson towering over high schoolers and rejecting shots into the crowd. 24. Andrew Perloff, SI.com, "2018 NBA Mock Draft: The YouTube Edition," 20 June 2018 Read hysterical stories on Italy’s political gyrations and supposedly catastrophic debt. Ken Fisher, USA TODAY, "Investors: Why you shouldn't worry that rates will rise," 10 June 2018 My daughter was hysterical; convinced without a tooth the tooth fairy would never come to visit her. Kristen Hellmer, USA TODAY, "3 parenting fails I hope to laugh about later," 6 July 2018 Rodriguez left the apartment and the woman called two friends, hysterical and crying. John Tedesco, San Antonio Express-News, "Ballet San Antonio dancer faces sexual assault charges," 1 June 2018 Meanwhile, Kate found her father-in-law's situation to be quite hysterical as evidenced by her giggling in the background. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Kate Middleton Couldn't Stop Laughing at Prince Charles's Wardrobe Malfunction at the RAF Flypast," 10 July 2018 Doctors and lawyers who have visited the shelters in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said the facilities were fine, clean and safe, but the children — who have no idea where their parents are — were hysterical, crying and acting out . Washington Post, "At least 3 “tender age” shelters set up for child migrants," 21 June 2018

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

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for hysterical

The first known use of hysterical was in 1650

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More Definitions for hysterical


hys·​ter·​i·​cal | \hi-ˈster-i-kəl\

Kids Definition of hysterical

1 : feeling or showing extreme and uncontrolled emotion hysterical laughter … the sight of blood really makes him hysterical.— Jack Gantos, Joey Pigza Loses Control

2 : very funny Your joke was hysterical.

Other Words from hysterical

hysterically adverb laugh hysterically


hys·​ter·​i·​cal | \-ˈter-i-kəl \
variants: also hysteric \ -​ˈter-​ik \

Medical Definition of hysterical 

: of, relating to, or marked by hysteria during hysterical conditions various functions of the human body are disordered— Morris Fishbein

Other Words from hysterical

hysterically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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Comments on hysterical

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