[ hi-lair-ee-uhs, -lar-, hahy- ]
/ hɪˈlɛər i əs, -ˈlær-, haɪ- /
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See synonyms for: hilarious / hilariously / hilariousness on Thesaurus.com

arousing great merriment; extremely funny: a hilarious story; a hilarious old movie.
boisterously merry or cheerful: a hilarious celebration.
merry; cheerful.


What Is The Difference Between "Hysterical" And "Hilarious"?

The other day, I heard "hysterical" used as an insult ... how does this funny word also act as an insult, particularly to women?

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Which sentence is correct?

Origin of hilarious

1815–25; <Latin hilar(is), hilar(us) cheerful (<Greek hilarós) + -ious


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does hilarious mean?

Hilarious means extremely funny, like literally lol funny.

Hilarious is most commonly used to describe someone or something (like a joke or a movie) as super funny. Much less commonly, it used to mean very merry or cheerful, as in a hilarious celebration.

Example: The movie was absolutely hilarious—I was laughing so hard at one point that I was crying.

Where does hilarious come from?

English got hilarious around 1820—well, that’s at least when the first records of its use are from. It comes from the Latin word hilar(is) (meaning “glad” or “cheerful”),  which was derived from the Greek hilarós.

Hilarious is used to describe things that are considered the pinnacle of funniness—things that make us laugh out loud, and a lot. Some jokes or memes might be amusing or a little funny, but something that’s truly hilarious is on a different level. Sometimes, people describe things that are hilarious as hysterical, which can mean “causing uncontrollable laughter.” However, hysterical can also be used in a very negative way to describe someone as uncontrollably and irrationally emotional, which isn’t funny at all (especially when used to demean women).

Less commonly, hilarious is used to describe a situation as being a really good time because it’s filled with merriment. This meaning of hilarious is more akin to the related noun hilarity, which means “merriment” or “cheerfulness.” Hilarity is not synonymous with the noun hilariousness, which typically means “funniness.” Of course, hilariousness often leads to hilarity!

One last thing: hilarious is sometimes used sarcastically to describe something that was intended to be funny but that the speaker sees as very unfunny, as in Wow, thanks for replacing my shoelaces with ramen noodles, you jerks—real hilarious. [Editor’s note: That is actually pretty hilarious.]

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of hilarious?

  • hilariously (adverb)
  • hilariousness (noun)
  • hyperhilarious (adjective)
  • hyperhilariously (adverb)

What are some synonyms for hilarious?

What are some words that share a root or word element with hilarious

What are some words that often get used in discussing hilarious?

How is hilarious used in real life?

Hilarious is always used positively to describe something that’s funny or, less commonly, a lot of fun.



Try using hilarious!

Which of the following terms is the closest synonym for hilarious?

A. amusing
B. serious
C. super funny
D. comical

How to use hilarious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hilarious

/ (hɪˈlɛərɪəs) /

very funny or merry

Derived forms of hilarious

hilariously, adverbhilariousness, noun

Word Origin for hilarious

C19: from Latin hilaris glad, from Greek hilaros
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