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 might simply refer to an actor or 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 Remember her histrionic thumbs down on the minimum wage? Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 1 Oct. 2021 Bouncing energetically, Lil Baby immediately lent histrionic, multi-colored vocals to bangers balanced between the eerily atmospheric and the naggingly melodic. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 6 Sep. 2021 Arguably the event’s MVP was Khaby Lame, who has become a global sensation—and a source of pride here in Italy—thanks to his shrug-heavy skewering of histrionic social media attention-seeking. Luke Leitch, Vogue, 24 Sep. 2021 Neil comes across nihilistically detached, whereas Alice is histrionic. Peter Debruge, Variety, 5 Sep. 2021 Set amid a season of heavy legal dramas and lighter histrionic fare, Ms. Hilton’s oddball asides and eccentric behavior has sent the internet into paroxysms of adulation. New York Times, 19 Aug. 2021 Like Napoleon himself, Maguire had legions of detractors, and made many enemies during his long run as offstage king of the histrionic boards. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 July 2021 Her enthusiasm for histrionic, healing revival meetings all over the inland Southern California region were the motive for regular family outings. Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2021 While King’s narrative romanticizes the relationship between mental illness and creativity, Larraín’s histrionic direction often reduces these elements to camp. Judy Berman, Time, 4 June 2021

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.

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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

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Histrionic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/histrionic. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of histrionic

: too emotional or dramatic

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Nglish: Translation of histrionic for Spanish Speakers


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