his·​tri·​on·​ic | \ ˌhi-strē-ˈä-nik How to pronounce histrionic (audio) \

Definition of histrionic

1 : deliberately affected : overly dramatic or emotional : theatrical histrionic gestures a tendency to become histrionic
2 : of or relating to actors, acting, or the theater seeking histrionic perfection

Other Words from histrionic

histrionically \ ˌhi-​strē-​ˈä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce histrionic (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for histrionic



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Choose the Right Synonym for histrionic

dramatic, theatrical, histrionic, melodramatic mean having a character or an effect like that of acted plays. dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply. a dramatic meeting of world leaders theatrical implies a crude appeal through artificiality or exaggeration in gesture or vocal expression. a theatrical oration histrionic applies to tones, gestures, and motions and suggests a deliberate affectation or staginess. a histrionic show of grief melodramatic suggests an exaggerated emotionalism or an inappropriate theatricalism. made a melodramatic plea

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The term histrionic developed from histrio, Latin for "actor." Something that is histrionic tends to remind one of the high drama of stage and screen and is often stagy and over-the-top. It especially calls to mind the theatrical form known as the melodrama, where plot and physical action, not characterization, are emphasized. But something that is histrionic isn't always overdone; the word can also simply refer to an actor or describe something related to the theater. In that sense, it becomes a synonym of thespian.

Examples of histrionic in a Sentence

a penchant for dish throwing, door slamming, and other histrionic displays of temper we never tired of his histrionic reenactment of how he found money under the floorboards of a house he was renovating
Recent Examples on the Web On Monday evening, the former president sent out a histrionic press release. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2022 On the right, there’s a parallel, if more histrionic, insistence that the Democrats and the liberal establishment comprise some sort of tyrannical front. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2022 With Pop art and nascent Minimalism, New York artists were turning no end of tables on solemnly histrionic Abstract Expressionism, which had established our town as the new wheelhouse of creative origination worldwide. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 1 Aug. 2022 The knowingly histrionic zoomer soap opera has become a slasher movie. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 14 Mar. 2022 Some of the encounters — such as one in which Lola and T heap their own misplaced fury on another pathetic patient played by Marilyn Torres — are histrionic. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 Bechdel recalls bursting into tears reading these lines, while also poking fun at herself as lightly histrionic for having done so. Sarah Blackwood, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 Curry, who spent 12 hours with Heard, diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, 2 June 2022 In the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, a psychologist named Dr Shannon Curry, employed by Depp, ‘diagnosed’ Heard with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and histrionic personality disorder (HPD). Eleanor Morgan, refinery29.com, 1 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'histrionic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of histrionic

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for histrionic

Late Latin histrionicus, from Latin histrion-, histrio actor

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The first known use of histrionic was in 1648

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Histrionic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/histrionic. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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