Word of the Day



1. talking or thinking in a confused way because you are ill
2. extremely happy and excited

Origin and usage

The word delirious is ultimately derived from the Latin phrase ‘de lire’ literally meaning ‘off the furrow’, which is behind the Latin verb ‘deliriare’ meaning ‘to rave, to be crazy’ and its related noun ‘delirium’, meaning ‘madness’. Delirious first appeared in English around 1703 and was used to describe a person, usually sick with fever, who had begun to act irrationally. By 1791, the word delirious had started to be used to describe a feeling of intense happiness or emotion.


The word delirious refers to a state of extreme mental confusion or overwhelming excitement. People who are delirious often act in ways that are not typical. They may mumble or speak incoherently, they may wander aimlessly, they may not recognize friends or family members, they may see things there are not really there or hear voices no one else can hear.

A delirious mental state can occur because of an illness or infection, fever, side effects from medication, psychological problems or injury to the brain.

Treating a delirious person usually involves treating the medical problem that is causing their changed mental state. This means giving medication to cure the infection or fever, adjusting the dose of medications, scanning the brain for injury or disease, or prescribing medications to improve brain health.


“I’ve never experienced writer’s block. When it’s going really well, my body temperature goes up, and I’m flushed. I get quite delirious.”

(M. J. Hyland)

“For years your name never passed my lips, while my soul drank in, with a delirious thirst, all that was uttered in my presence respecting you.”

(Edgar Allan Poe)


confused, bewildered, excited

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

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