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 was blubbering in her arms, hysterically, as she caressed him.

    The Adventurer

    Cyril M. Kornbluth

  • “He tried to strangle me, then he intended to shoot me,” she said hysterically.

    The White Lie

    William Le Queux

  • "It were him I wanted," she said hysterically, hugging her little dead burden.

    Tess of the Storm Country

    Grace Miller White

  • "It was dreadful of me to make such a mistake," said Mrs. Mann, hysterically.

    From Farm to Fortune

    Horatio Alger Jr.

  • "You come between me and my prayers" she said hysterically, and began to sob.

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