hys·​ter·​i·​cal hi-ˈster-i-kəl How to pronounce hysterical (audio)
or less commonly hysteric : of, relating to, or marked by hysteria
hysterical conditions
: 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
informal : very funny
a hysterical movie/joke
hysterically adverb

Examples of hysterical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With exceedingly catchy music from country songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McNally and a hysterical book from Broadway vet Robert Horn (Tootsie), Shucked follows the story of Cob County, a town grappling with a corn blight that threatens to end their way of life. Christian Holub, EW.com, 14 Dec. 2023 When Diane called on her drive over, Vanessa was hysterical, yelling that Rodney was dead. Molly Langmuir, Rolling Stone, 2 Feb. 2024 But by that point, all the increasingly hysterical participants, with their cross purposes and betrayals and manipulations and cunning switcheroos, just become a shrill blur. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Jan. 2024 In this clip, spy Weird Al Yankovic walking behind 2023 nominee James Marsden, who is up for his turn in hysterical comedy Jury Duty. Lindsay Kimble, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2024 Jogging around the stage in circles, the nimble-witted Edelman has a gift for laser-sharp descriptions of cultural and generational rifts in this hysterical 90-minute confessional. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, 15 Jan. 2024 Evan's children delivered heartfelt and hysterical speeches that had everyone laughing and crying simultaneously. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 4 Jan. 2024 Instead of agreeing, Martine exploded in hysterical anger, screaming that the 40-year friendship was over. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2023 The boy’s grandmother, who was hysterical, told police Brown had already shot the gun inside the home and insisted the child was not safe with Brown inside. Michael Dorgan, Fox News, 12 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hysterical was in 1603

Dictionary Entries Near hysterical

Cite this Entry

“Hysterical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysterical. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


hys·​ter·​i·​cal -ˈter-i-kəl How to pronounce hysterical (audio)
variants also hysteric
: of, relating to, or marked by hysteria
during hysterical conditions various functions of the human body are disorderedMorris Fishbein
hysterically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on hysterical

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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