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90s Slang You Should Know


[hi-ster-i-kuh l] /hɪˈstɛr ɪ kəl/
of, relating to, or characterized by hysteria.
uncontrollably emotional.
irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock.
causing hysteria.
suffering from or subject to hysteria.
causing unrestrained laughter; very funny:
Oh, that joke is hysterical!
Origin of hysterical
1605-15; < Latin hysteric(us) hysteric + -al1
Related forms
hysterically, adverb
overhysterical, adjective
posthysterical, adjective
semihysterical, adjective
semihysterically, adverb
unhysterical, adjective
unhysterically, adverb
Can be confused
historic, historical, hysterical.
6. hilarious, uproarious, laughable, ludicrous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hysterical
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From the bed came again the half-insane response of hysterical moaning, and the young mountaineer straightened his shoulders.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • She volleyed the name at him with hysterical violence, but he did not seem to be impressed.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The audiences cheered and cried and let themselves go in the hysterical manner of people wrought up by great national excitements.

    Memoirs of an American Prima Donna Clara Louise Kellogg
  • I just wish there was some way to handle that hysterical sniffle of yours, that's all.

    Vigorish Gordon Randall Garrett
  • All physiologists know that hysterical persons have a tendency to falsehood and simulation.

    Mysterious Psychic Forces Camille Flammarion
British Dictionary definitions for hysterical


of or suggesting hysteria: hysterical cries
suffering from hysteria
(informal) wildly funny
Derived Forms
hysterically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hysterical

1610s, from Latin hystericus "of the womb," from Greek hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Meaning "very funny" (by 1939) is from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter. Related: Hysterically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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