The root hyster- comes from the Greek word for womb. So, the psychological disturbance termed hysteria was originally believed to be a disease of women and resulted from some disturbance in the uterus.

The adjective hysteric appears in the mid-17th century. From Richard Tomlinson’s 1657 translation of Renod├Žus’ Medicinal Dispensatory:

The Plague is a poyson...which retained in Histerick women.

Hysteria first appears in 1801 in the pages of The Medical and Physical Journal:

Account of Diseases in an Eastern District of London...Chronic Diseases...Hysteria.

(Source: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition)

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