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 Back home, the Russian media adopted a hysterical and bellicose tone. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "The Kremlin’s Creative Director," 9 Dec. 2019 After last week’s drone strike that killed Iran’s chief terrorist, the ayatollahs were making nearly hysterical threats of revenge. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Weekly Trump Report Card: ‘Dizzying,’ with wins on border wall and deregulation," 11 Jan. 2020 At the funeral, he and his older brother William were made to walk behind the coffin, in front of hysterical crowds and the entire world on TV. Hasit Shah, Quartz, "The UK’s first black royal has already walked away," 9 Jan. 2020 Need to restrain that hysterical relative who has run out of meds after a crisis? Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "15 Everyday Survival Supplies You Should Buy Online," 27 Nov. 2019 The playbook included hysterical and false accusations that the result was rigged by a hostile foreign power. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Judgment Day U.K.: Tories Win Big," 13 Dec. 2019 Jordan Donica, whose virile voice matched his stature, received riotous applause as Lancelot, the knight who loves Arthur’s queen, embodied by the hysterical and ultimately heartbreaking Solea Pfeiffer. Ian Malone, Vogue, "Camelot Ruled the Stage at Lincoln Center Theater’s Benefit Gala," 5 Mar. 2019 This controversy added to the growing anxiety that the Star Wars fanbase was hysterical and overwhelmingly bigoted. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Star Wars Star Kelly Marie Tran Departs Instagram Due To Harassment," 5 June 2018 The mother was not hurt but was hysterical after the car sped off. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Girl who appeared to be kidnapped off NYC street in front of her mom found safe," 17 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for hysterical

Time Traveler

The first known use of hysterical was in 1650

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Statistics for hysterical

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hysterical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hysterical. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for hysterical


How to pronounce hysterical (audio)

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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