Daily Archives: April 22, 2009

Don’t Get Hysterical (04/11)

I knew hysteria was a medical condition, thought to be particular to women. However, I didn’t know the etymology of the word.

HYSTERICAL

1615, from L. hystericus “of the womb,” from Gk. hysterikos “of the womb, suffering in the womb,” from hystera “womb” (see uterus).

Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. Hysterics is 1727; hysteria, abstract noun from hysteric, first recorded 1801 as a medical term.

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