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[hi-ster-i-kuh l] /hɪˈstɛr ɪ kəl/

of, relating to, or characterized by .
uncontrollably emotional.
irrational from fear, emotion, or an emotional shock.
causing .
suffering from or subject to .
causing unrestrained laughter; very funny:
Oh, that joke is hysterical!
of or suggesting hysteria: hysterical cries
suffering from hysteria
(informal) wildly funny

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.


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