Definition of hysterical in US English:



  • 1Deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion.

    ‘the band was mobbed by hysterical fans’
    ‘hysterical laughter’
    • ‘Touched by his affection and feeling overly emotional, I become hysterical.’
    • ‘The young woman had crying fits, which were interspersed with screams and bursts of hysterical laughter.’
    • ‘For others, the word joy did just what was it was told, making the victim hysterical and pretty much uncontrollably giddy.’
    • ‘Recently, hysterical fans of the Taiwanese boys' band, F4, caused a great sensation in Shanghai.’
    • ‘There was no need to act like some hysterical, emotional nutcase.’
    • ‘Wyman concedes it's rare, nowadays, for new bands to be greeted by hysterical fans at the airport, the way the Stones were in the '60s.’
    • ‘My soft chuckles soon turned into uncontrollable and hysterical laughing.’
    • ‘Both are seen as nervous, emotional, almost hysterical men.’
    • ‘Approach this end room and the first thing noticed will be the hysterical, uncontrollable laughter.’
    • ‘But the mirth is fleeting and the hysterical laughter, I suspect, is triggered more by nervous tension than by a wicked sense of humour.’
    • ‘She wasn't emotionally disabled or hysterical but in these day she used to cry almost all the time.’
    • ‘My sobs were uncontrollable, hysterical almost.’
    • ‘But no sooner had the match gone into the second period than the moans were replaced by smiles and later by hysterical laughter.’
    • ‘And as he watched her in confusion, Shelley's chuckle turned into an uncontrollable, hysterical fit of laughter.’
    • ‘‘Hi everyone, this is Budi,’ she announced, making a real effort not to trip and break out into hysterical laughter.’
    • ‘He became emotional and hysterical, as he sometimes does.’
    • ‘Then a wild, almost hysterical gale of laughter burst from her.’
    • ‘Then the corners of her mouth began to curl upward, and a moment later, hysterical laughter was bubbling from her chest.’
    • ‘In the back of her mind, a bubble of hysterical laughter began to grow.’
    • ‘But then I read the whole thing through and I just sat there for ten minutes in hysterical laughter - he had pulled it off!’
    overwrought, emotional, uncontrolled, uncontrollable, out of control, unrestrained, unrestrainable, frenzied, in a frenzy, frantic, wild, feverish
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal Extremely funny.
      ‘her attempts to teach them to dance were hysterical’
      • ‘Extreme gore and hysterical pratfalls all combine in a truly memorable mix.’
      • ‘She was extremely ticklish and it was absolutely hysterical watching her freak out.’
      • ‘More of their side-splitting, hysterical brand of humour which at times threatened to bring the house down.’
      • ‘I knew this shouldn't have been funny, but right then I found it hysterical.’
      • ‘How did this role come to you, this very funny, hysterical gun moll role?’
      • ‘Start off with a funny thing that happened to you that day or something hysterical you just saw on TV.’
      • ‘Some people find it side-splittingly hysterical; I didn't, but I did find it to be entertainingly funny.’
      • ‘Filled with his patented dry wit and funny observations, this track often borders on hysterical.’
      • ‘As a hysterical parody, my bears comically evoke the carnivalesque.’
      • ‘For the show, a group of puppeteers steps in and performs these calls with some very funny looking puppets on hysterical sets.’
      hilarious, uproarious, very funny, very amusing, comical, comic, farcical
      View synonyms
  • 2Relating to, associated with, or suffering from hysteria.

    ‘the doctor thinks the condition is partly hysterical’
    • ‘Su-mi's mental state might be described as hysterical.’
    • ‘This is the language of hysterical, demented brainwashing.’
    • ‘Such a figure is literally and etymologically hysterical, as it is excessively feminized; it is also psychoanalytically hysterical.’
    • ‘It was as if he was trying to pacify a hysterical mental patient.’
    • ‘So I may be a cynical, hysterical, psychotic, twisted masochist.’
    • ‘The last thing you want is a hysterical claustrophobe, suffering from a panic attack!’
    • ‘Convinced that Clay was suffering hysterical panic, the New York boxing writers urged the local commissioners to call off the fight.’
    • ‘He thought I was in the midst of an hysterical fit, or that I had perhaps gone insane.’
    • ‘Others took the view that Plath was a hysterical self-dramatist, possibly psychopathic, and vastly overrated as a poet.’
    • ‘Furthermore, Freud placed the emphasis on the psychological mechanism of hysterical symptom formation.’
    • ‘Jiang doesn't soften his depiction of the chaotic, hysterical wartime mentality, when anything can happen, and the worst thing probably will.’
    • ‘Although Halle is not around to encounter Beloved, he too suffers trauma and exhibits hysterical symptoms.’
    • ‘Karon and Widener then described what they identified as a typical combat hysterical neurosis.’