nervous disease, 1801, coined in medical Latin as an abstract noun from Greek hystera "womb," from PIE *udtero-, variant of *udero- "abdomen, womb, stomach" (see uterus). Originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus. With abstract noun ending -ia. General sense of "unhealthy emotion or excitement" is by 1839.
1610s, "characteristic of hysteria," the nervous disease originally defined as a neurotic condition peculiar to women and thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the uterus; literally "of the womb," from Latin hystericus "of the womb," from Greek hysterikos "of the womb, suffering in the womb," from hystera "womb," from PIE *udtero-, variant of *udero- "abdomen, womb, stomach" (see uterus). Compare hysteria.
Meaning "very funny" (by 1939) is from the notion of uncontrollable fits of laughter. For "inclined to hysteria," American English formerly had the colloquial hystericky (1792). Related: Hysterically.
1650s, "hysterical; relating to or affected with hysteria; emotionally disordered and frantic," from Latin hystericus, from Greek hysterikos "belonging to the womb" (see hysterical, which is the more common adjective). As a noun, "one who is hysterical," from 1751.
late 14c., from Anglo-French vapour, Old French vapor "moisture, vapor" (13c., Modern French vapeur) and directly from Latin vaporem (nominative vapor) "a warm exhalation, steam, heat," which is of unknown origin. Vapors "fit of fainting, hysteria, etc." is 1660s, from medieval notion of "exhalations" from the stomach or other organs affecting the brain.
"nervous disease marked by irregular and involuntary motions," 1806, from Modern Latin chorea Sancti Viti "St. Vitus dance" (1620s) which originally was a mass hysteria prevalent in 15c. Europe characterized by uncontrolled dancing); from Latin chorea "a dance," from Greek khoreia "dance" (see chorus). Related: Choreal.
"psychic drive or energy, usually associated with sexual instinct," 1892, carried over untranslated in English edition of Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis"; and used in 1909 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud's "Selected Papers on Hysteria" (Freud's use of the term led to its popularity); from Latin libido, lubido "desire, eagerness, longing; inordinate desire, sensual passion, lust," from libere "to be pleasing, to please," from PIE root *leubh- "to care, desire, love" (source also of love).
"to make excessive gains, as by the sale of necessary goods at extortionate prices," 1797, but dormant in English until it was revived early 20c. and popularized in World War I, from profit + -eer. From 1912 as a noun. Related: Profiteering (1814).
Or is it simply hysteria which produces what is to-day termed "the profiteer?" It is probable that the modern profiteer is the same person whom we formerly called "the grafter, the extortioner, the robber, the gouger." [Legal Aid Review, April 1920]
"attack of hysteria," 1833, in conniption fit, American English, origin uncertain; perhaps a fanciful formation related to corruption, which was used in a sense of "anger" from 1799, or from English dialectal canapshus "ill-tempered, captious," which probably is a corruption of captious.
CONNIPTION FIT. This term is exclusively used by the fair sex, who can best explain its meaning. Ex. "George if you keep coming home so late to dinner I shall have a conniption." As near as I can judge, conniption fits are tantrums. [Bartlett, 1848]