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hysteria Syllabification: hys·te·ri·a
Pronunciation: /həˈstirēə/

Definition of hysteria in English:


1Exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, especially among a group of people: the mass hysteria that characterizes the week before Christmas
More example sentences
  • Various people are drunk or act strangely or approach mini entertaining hysterias - like whirlpools in cups of tea they pass quickly.
  • The world cannot tolerate these old claims, most times based on sheer hysteria and emotion.
  • The whole history of the US, indeed, is punctuated with scares, crazes and occasional mass hysteria.
frenzy, feverishness, hysterics, fit of madness, derangement, mania, delirium;
panic, alarm, distress
1.1 Psychiatry A psychological disorder (not now regarded as a single definite condition) whose symptoms include conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms (somatization), selective amnesia, shallow volatile emotions, and overdramatic or attention-seeking behavior. The term has a controversial history as it was formerly regarded as a disease specific to women.
Example sentences
  • They never talk about a disorder called hysteria, they talk about the womb wandering.
  • Freud learned from Charcot that, in order to understand hysteria, he had to look to psychology rather than to neurology.
  • When these types break down they tend to develop either hysteria or mania.


Early 19th century: from Latin hystericus (see hysteric).

  • In ancient times doctors (all male) regarded hysteria as a disease of women cause by a disturbance of the womb. In the early 19th-century English pathologists (also male) formed the English name from Greek hustera ‘uterus, womb’. Earlier terms for the condition had been hysteric (mid 17th century) or hysterical passion, reflecting the same view, and the vapours (mid 17th century).

Words that rhyme with hysteria

Algeria, anterior, bacteria, Bashkiria, cafeteria, criteria, cryptomeria, diphtheria, exterior, Iberia, inferior, interior, Liberia, listeria, Nigeria, posterior, Siberia, superior, ulterior, wisteria

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