Definition of hysteria noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈstɪər//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstɪr//
    [uncountable] Excitement, Fear
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  1. 1a state of extreme excitement, fear or anger in which a person, or a group of people, loses control of their emotions and starts to cry, laugh, etc. There was mass hysteria when the band came on stage. A note of hysteria crept into her voice. See related entries: Fear
  2. 2(disapproving) an extremely excited and exaggerated way of behaving or reacting to an event the usual media hysteria that surrounds royal visits public hysteria about AIDS See related entries: Excitement
  3. 3(medical) a condition in which somebody experiences violent or extreme emotions that they cannot control, especially as a result of shock
  4. Word Originearly 19th cent.: from Latin hystericus from Greek husterikos ‘of the womb’, from hustera ‘womb’ (hysteria was thought to be specific to women and associated with the womb).Extra examples Sam arrived in a state of excitement bordering on hysteria. She felt hysteria rising. She smashed the place up in a fit of hysteria. She sometimes flew into fits of hysteria. She was babbling, on the verge of hysteria. Some parts of the media are creating hysteria and exaggerating an important issue. That thought was enough to bring on near hysteria. There is still so much hysteria surrounding the issue. There was a note of hysteria in his voice. Unnecessary anxiety has been caused by media hysteria and misinformation. hysteria over AIDS public hysteria about the bombings the hysteria that swept through the country the hysteria whipped up by some newspapers the touch of hysteria in her voice Fear infected people with mass hysteria.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hysteria