Hysteria is the Weekly Word: Hysterical or His Tears in Ria?

I was chatting with the lovely Stevie yesterday about the word Hysteria. Now I know it’s also the title of the Short Story and Poetry Competition for the Hysterectomy Association, but it turns out that it also happens to have a particularly interesting background to it. My alternative take on its meaning based on the syllables alone is His Tears in Ria, not very inventive I grant you but hey, that’s what happens sometimes. Let’s see what it really means.

This week’s word is HYSTERIA, it is a NOUN and is pronounced ‘his-ter-re-ya’

The word hysteria means to have a condition of extreme excitement which is often characterised by emotional disturbance and excessive or uncontrollable emotions. Think boy bands and young girls and you’ll get the picture!

Examples of the word Hysteria

  • In her hysteria she forgot to listen to the music that was being played.
  • The hysteria that transpires whenever a radical change is proposed is often a useful aid to those who would oppose it.

Origins of the word Hysteria

Although officially the word was first known around the 18th C and derives from the New Latin, it is widely believed to originate in the Greek hystera meaning Womb. The Ancient Greeks believed that hysteria was caused by violent movements of the womb as it travelled around the body (they believed it wasn’t fixed in place) and that it was, therefore a female trait. The word Hysterectomy (Removal of the Womb) comes from this meaning.

Why the Weekly Word?

The idea of the Weekly Word comes from Toastmasters International which is a speaking club I belong to. Each meeting we have a Grammarian Role and the purpose of the role is to try new words that stretch our vocabulary as well as to monitor and report back on people’s use of language. If you’d like to find out more about Toastmasters groups in your area then you can visit their website at: http://www.toastmasters.org.

Now, If you would like to see previous Weekly Word’s you can find them all listed here: the-weekly-word

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