Hilarious vs. Hysterical

Updated Jan 21, 2023

What are the differences between hilarious and hysterical?

Hilarious and hysterical are both words used to describe something that is so funny that it produces intense laughter. However, there is a subtle difference between the two words. Hilarious refers to something that is extremely funny but can still be appreciated in a controlled manner. For example, "The comedian's one-liners were hilarious!"

Hysterical, on the other hand, implies a more uncontrolled reaction to something funny. It is often used to describe a reaction that is so intense that it causes one to lose control of their emotions. For example, "I was so surprised by the prank that I couldn't help but burst into hysterical laughter!"

Why do people commonly confuse hilarious and hysterical?

People commonly confuse hilarious and hysterical because they are both used to describe something that is funny, but they have different connotations. Hilarious means something is extremely funny and can often be used to describe a situation that is humorous. Hysterical, on the other hand, is typically used to describe something that is funny but in a more extreme manner, often to the point of being out of control. The two words are often used interchangeably, but they do have subtle differences in their meanings.

What are some ways to make sure you don't confuse hilarious and hysterical?

  1. Read your sentence aloud to make sure it sounds correct.
  2. Look up the definitions of both words to help you remember which word is which.
  3. Substitute the word “very” before each word to help you remember the difference. For example, “very hilarious” and “very hysterical”.
  4. Practice using the words in sentences so you become familiar with how they are used.
  5. If you’re still unsure, use a thesaurus to find alternative words that mean the same thing.

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