Hys*te"ri*a (?), n. [NL.: cf. F.
hystérie. See Hysteric.] (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.
☞ The chief symptoms are convulsive, tossing movements of the
limbs and head, uncontrollable crying and laughing, and a choking
sensation as if a ball were lodged in the throat. The affection
presents the most varied symptoms, often simulating those of the
gravest diseases, but generally curable by mental treatment