hysteria

[ hi-ster-ee-uh, -steer- ]
/ hɪˈstɛr i ə, -ˈstɪər- /

noun

an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.
Psychoanalysis. a psychoneurotic disorder characterized by violent emotional outbreaks, disturbances of sensory and motor functions, and various abnormal effects due to autosuggestion.
Psychiatry. conversion disorder.

Nearby words

  1. hysteresis,
  2. hysteresis loop,
  3. hysteresis loss,
  4. hysteretic,
  5. hystereurysis,
  6. hysteric,
  7. hysterical,
  8. hysterical personality,
  9. hysterical psychosis,
  10. hysterics

Compare mass hysteria.

Origin of hysteria

First recorded in 1795–1805; hyster(ic) + -ia

Related formssub·hys·te·ri·a, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hysteria


British Dictionary definitions for hysteria

hysteria

/ (hɪˈstɪərɪə) /

noun

a mental disorder characterized by emotional outbursts, susceptibility to autosuggestion, and, often, symptoms such as paralysis that mimic the effects of physical disordersSee also conversion disorder
any frenzied emotional state, esp of laughter or crying

Word Origin for hysteria

C19: from New Latin, from Latin hystericus hysteric

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

Word Origin and History for hysteria

hysteria

n.

1801, coined in medical Latin as an abstract noun from hysteric (see hysterical).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for hysteria

hysteria

[ hĭ-stĕrē-ə, -stîr- ]

n.

A psychiatric disorder characterized by the presentation of a physical ailment without an organic cause.
Excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear.
Related formshys•teric (hĭ-stĕrĭk) null adj.


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for hysteria

hysteria

A complex neurosis in which psychological conflict is turned into physical symptoms, such as amnesia, blindness, and paralysis, that have no underlying physical cause. Early in his career, Sigmund Freud worked on hysteria.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.