hys·​ter·​i·​cal | \ hi-ˈster-i-kəl How to pronounce hysterical (audio) \

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 How to pronounce hysterically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of hysterical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

After winning the first two games of their playoff series on the road, the Pelicans returned home to a hysterical crowd that powered them to one of the most one-sided postseason performances in franchise history. William Guillory, NOLA.com, "Pelicans dominate Blazers from start to finish, take 3-0 series lead," 19 Apr. 2018 One mother was hysterical after briefly losing her children in the thick smoke and darkness. Daniel Ochoa De Olza, The Seattle Times, "Border clash marks 2nd use of tear gas in just over a month," 2 Jan. 2019 School picture day is a major event for middle schoolers across the country, making one Missouri boy’s green screen photo shoot gone wrong all the more hysterical. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Missouri boy’s green screen school photos go viral," 22 Aug. 2018 But some of those seeking to organize women electorally are nervous about too much fury, fury that in women is still more likely to be read as irrational, hysterical, unappealing. Rebecca Traister, The Cut, "The Other Women’s March on Washington," 19 Jan. 2018 Every one of those figures opposed essentially every single one of Obama’s major policies, both during the preceding campaign and during the two terms that followed, frequently in hysterical and paranoid terms. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Liberal Media Need Conservative Columnists," 10 May 2018 The announcer was describing the hysterical reaction of the Mexican crowd, which was following the South Korea-Germany game on social media. Bob Ryan, BostonGlobe.com, "You don’t have to love soccer to appreciate the greatness of the World Cup," 29 June 2018 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

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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Statistics for hysterical

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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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



English Language Learners Definition of hysterical

: feeling or showing extreme and uncontrolled emotion : marked by hysteria
informal : very funny


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 How to pronounce hysterical (audio) \
variants: also hysteric \ -​ˈter-​ik How to pronounce hysteric (audio) \

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 How to pronounce hysterically (audio) \ adverb

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Comments on hysterical

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


showing courage and determination

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