Hysterical [Adj.]

Originated in the English language around the 1610s from the Greek hysterikos meaning ‘of the womb’, or ‘suffering in the womb’.


The term comes from the Greek hystera simply meaning ‘womb’.

Hysteria was originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus.

Hippocrates believed that the womb lived as a separate animal in the female and that all female irrational behaviour was caused by the uterus ‘moving about’.

Since 1939 it has meant ‘very funny’ from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter.

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