Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A temporary state of mental confusion and fluctuating consciousness resulting from high fever, intoxication, shock, or other causes. It is characterized by anxiety, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherent speech.
  • n. A state of uncontrolled excitement or emotion: sports fans in delirium after their team's victory.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A temporary mental state with a sudden onset, usually reversible, including symptoms of confusion, inability to concentrate, disorientation, anxiety, and sometimes hallucinations. Causes can include dehydration, drug intoxication, and severe infection.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A state in which the thoughts, expressions, and actions are wild, irregular, and incoherent; mental aberration; a roving or wandering of the mind, -- usually dependent on a fever or some other disease, and so distinguished from mania, or madness.
  • n. Strong excitement; wild enthusiasm; madness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A disordered state, more or less temporary, of the mental faculties, occurring during illness, especially in febrile conditions.
  • n. Violent excitement; exaggerated enthusiasm; mad rapture.
  • n. A hallucination or delusion; a creation of the imagination.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a usually brief state of excitement and mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations
  • n. state of violent mental agitation

Etymologies

Latin dēlīrium, from dēlīrāre, to be deranged : dē-, de- + līra, furrow; see leis-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Latin dēlīrium ("derangement”, “madness"), from dēlīrō ("I am deranged"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • I have had a curious packet confided to me, containing an immense amount of mauscript, in an inconceivably small space; tales, dramas, poems, romances, written principally by Charlotte, in a hand which is almost impossible to decipher without the aid of a magnifying glass. ... When she gives way to her powers of creation, her fancy and her language alike run riot, sometimes to the very borders of apparent delirium.

    July 10, 2010

  • 'You add the most delightful sense of the macabre to any delirium.' -Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End

    *wink*

    February 20, 2008