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 hysterical (audio) \ adverb

Examples of hysterical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An argument followed and he was encouraged to switch to the University of Bonn, ever further from Lina, who grew hysterical. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books, "Characters in Search of a Conflict," 23 Feb. 2021 When Fran Lebowitz gets hysterical about the chandelier in The Phantom of the Opera. Carrie Wittmer, Vulture, "Stop Doomscrolling and Watch the Fran Lebowitz Documentary Series on Netflix," 13 Jan. 2021 This Hydroxy Effect — hysterical disavowal of anything Trump has endorsed — is dangerous to the country at large. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Will Biden Give In to the Hydroxy Effect?," 10 Dec. 2020 Their hysterical laughter takes a turn because Em is crying all of a sudden. Jessica Goldstein, Vulture, "Dickinson Recap: All Too Well," 10 Feb. 2021 Joel and Ethan Coen followed their Best Picture winner No Country For Old Men with one of their most cynical and hysterical movies, a comedy of errors about some incredibly stupid people. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 50 Best Movies on Peacock," 23 Jan. 2021 Strangely missing in much of the hysterical coverage is the anti-Trump violence that marked the last inauguration. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "Very strange start: A most unusual inaugural," 19 Jan. 2021 Scathing and hysterical, Election is a movie that could come out unchanged two decades after its release. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now," 16 Jan. 2021 Hearing them without describing them as shrill or hysterical has proved to be a separate, but equally daunting, task. Washington Post, "The sound of a shifting power structure," 13 Jan. 2021

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

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for hysterical Time Traveler

The first known use of hysterical was in 1603

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Statistics for hysterical

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hysterical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysterical. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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 hysterical (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 hysterical (audio) \ adverb

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