Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.
  • noun A group of psychiatric symptoms, including heightened emotionality, attention-seeking behavior, and physical symptoms in the absence of organic pathology. The symptoms of hysteria are currently attributed to any of several psychiatric conditions, including somatization disorder, multiple personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. The term hysteria is no longer used in clinical use.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A nervous disease involving no recognizable anatomical lesion, characterized by unrestrained desire to attract. attention and sympathy, more or less coordinated convulsions, globus and clavus hystericus, anæsthesia, hyperæsthesia, motor paralysis, vasomotor derangements, etc. Women are much more frequently affected in this way than men. Also called hysterics.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Med.) A nervous affection, occurring almost exclusively in women, in which the emotional and reflex excitability is exaggerated, and the will power correspondingly diminished, so that the patient loses control over the emotions, becomes the victim of imaginary sensations, and often falls into paroxism or fits.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.
  • noun medicine A mental disorder characterized by emotional excitability etc. without an organic cause.

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

  • noun excessive or uncontrollable fear
  • noun neurotic disorder characterized by violent emotional outbreaks and disturbances of sensory and motor functions
  • noun state of violent mental agitation

Etymologies

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

[New Latin : hyster(ic) + –ia.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From New Latin hysteria, from hysteric, from Latin hystericus, from Ancient Greek ὑστερικός (hysterikos, "suffering in the uterus, hysterical"), from ὑστέρα (hustera, "womb"). Confer French hystérie.

Examples

  • His theories took hold in American psychiatry, and the term hysteria came to mean “emotionally charged situations … symbolic of underlying conflicts.”

    The Chemistry of Calm

  • Hippocrates, the “father of medicine” whose healing oath is revered to this day, used the term hysteria to describe overwhelming fear, sometimes accompanied by unexplained physical symptoms or loss of self-control.

    The Chemistry of Calm

  • The word hysteria comes from the Greek word for uterus.

    The Pawprints of History

  • The word hysteria comes from the Greek word for uterus.

    The Pawprints of History

  • The word hysteria comes from the Greek word for uterus.

    The Pawprints of History

  • The word hysteria comes from the Greek word for uterus.

    The Pawprints of History

  • The term "hysteria" comes from the Greek word for "womb" and refers to a disease that was once diagnosed almost exclusively in women.

    Jezebel

  • "The term hysteria was coined by Hippocrates, who thought that suffocation and madness arose in women whose uteri had become too light and dry from lack of sexual intercourse and, as a result, wandered upward, compressing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm."

    Kiwiblog

  • "The term hysteria was coined by Hippocrates, who thought that suffocation and madness arose in women whose uteri had become too light and dry from lack of sexual intercourse and, as a result, wandered upward, compressing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm."

    Kiwiblog

  • "The term hysteria was coined by Hippocrates, who thought that suffocation and madness arose in women whose uteri had become too light and dry from lack of sexual intercourse and, as a result, wandered upward, compressing the heart, lungs, and diaphragm."

    Kiwiblog

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "It's bugging me, grating me

    And twisting me around

    Yeah I'm endlessly caving in

    And turning inside out"

    January 9, 2007

  • T.L.S.: 'Hysteria is a rum sort of subject these days. It has officially disappeared as a disease, wiped out of existence in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, the bible of contemporary psychiatry, and hysterics themselves seem to have vanished from psychiatrists’ and neurologists’ waiting rooms. Lay people still use the term with abandon, generally with reference to women who make a spectacle of their extreme emotional lability. But an illness that has a history dating all the way back to the time of Hippocrates is no longer respectable or recognized in medical circles. In the words of one of its best-known modern historians, Etienne Trillat, “L’hystérie est morte, c’est entendu�?. '

    January 22, 2009

  • Tut-tut CDC definition.

    May 10, 2018