VIDEO FOR HYSTERICAL
WATCH NOW: 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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OTHER WORDS FROM hysterical
Words nearby hysterical
ABOUT THIS WORD
More context on hysterical
In everyday usage, hysterical means “uncontrollably emotional.”
But guess who usually gets marked with that label? Women. What’s more, hysterical comes from the Greek word for “womb.” It was once thought that hysteria was a condition that only affected women—and was caused by disturbances in the uterus.
Given the sexism associated with this word, hysterical isn’t exactly a laughing matter.
If knowing the history of hysterical has got you reflecting on your word choices, this slideshow, “These Common Words Have Offensive Histories,” discusses many other words whose place in your vocab you may want to reconsider.
Keep in mind …
Informally, hysterical is also often used to refer to something “extremely funny.” Here are some other synonyms you can try:
Looking for more synonyms for funny? We’ve got loads more at Thesaurus.com.
Example sentences from the Web for hysterical
What follows is hysterical, painful, weird, and strangely touching—a true Festivus for the rest of us.
Every night, I speak to the islands of the Caribbean in the language of hysterical storms.
They converted what should have been a long-overdue moral reckoning into a shallow and hysterical ratings bonanza.
But Robin Williams will, sadly, no longer be sending us into hysterical fits of laughter.Robin Williams, Hollywood’s Grand Jester, Is Dead at 63|Marlow Stern|August 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Women fainted, men sobbed, while children in shock picked their way through the crowds of hysterical adults.The Hanging Judge of Minya, Egypt, Sentences Hundreds to Death|Bel Trew|April 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Here is no wild exaltation, no hysterical obedience to hotly-conceived impulse.The Historical Nights Entertainment, Second Series|Rafael Sabatini
Her hysterical caresses awakened him and the little fellow could not understand what ailed his mother.Bengal Dacoits and Tigers|Maharanee Sunity Devee
It struck her as a species of ghastly sentiment, which at once distressed, and impelled her to hysterical mirth.The Butterfly House|Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
The third or fourth year represents the age limit, below which hysterical symptoms do not appear.The Nervous Child|Hector Charles Cameron
He flung himself into his chair, hid his face with his hands, and burst into hysterical tears.Eric, or Little by Little|Frederic W. Farrar