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 formshys·ter·i·cal·ly, adverbo·ver·hys·ter·i·cal, adjectivepost·hys·ter·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·hys·ter·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·hys·ter·i·cal·ly, adverbun·hys·ter·i·cal, adjectiveun·hys·ter·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedhistoric historical hysterical

Synonyms for hysterical

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

Examples from the Web for hysterically

Contemporary Examples of hysterically

Historical Examples of hysterically

  • He broke into a loud laugh that jangled, hysterically cold, round the great, brilliant room.

    "Persons Unknown"

    Virginia Tracy

  • "'Tis enough to make a woman shudder," cried Lady Betty, hysterically.

    His Grace of Osmonde

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • She clung to him hysterically, as he shook hands with one after another of the few rescuers who had time to hurry in.

    Starlight Ranch

    Charles King

  • Noddy was hysterically thankful to the motor boys, but they well knew he might, at the first chance, play some mean trick on them.

  • She had laughed throughout the supper, and she still laughed, hysterically, though she had drunk scarcely any wine.

British Dictionary definitions for hysterically




of or suggesting hysteriahysterical cries
suffering from hysteria
informal wildly funny
Derived Formshysterically, 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

Word Origin and History for hysterically



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