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hysteria

[ hi-ster-ee-uh, -steer- ]
/ hɪˈstɛr i ə, -ˈstɪər- /
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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.
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Compare mass hysteria.

Origin of hysteria

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

OTHER WORDS FROM hysteria

sub·hys·te·ri·a, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hysteria in a sentence

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

Cultural 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.
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