• histrionics

    emotional behaviour


histrionics = die Schauspielerei, theatralisches Getue, die Schauspielkunst


In the press

Yet there is something truly historic about Trump — his HISTRIONICS. He surely has no rival in trying to assert the historic nature of everything he does. A search of the White House website finds that the president and his team have declared their actions historic nearly 400 times in their first 10 months in office.

Did you know?

plural noun

- very emotional and energetic behaviour that lacks sincerity and real meaning

(The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)


- relating to actors or acting

- excessively dramatic or emotional; affected

(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition)


The word histrionics was either formed from the English histrion, meaning actor, or it was borrowed from the Late Latin histrionicus, which also referred to an actor, theatrics or pretence.

The word is applied to a species of duck, Histronicus histrionicus, whose common name is the Harlequin Duck (harlequin is synonymous with clown or buffoon and was originally a masked figure from the popular Italian improvisational theatre in the 15th century known as commedia dell'arte).

Histrionics, which at its core means overly dramatic and superficial behaviour, can be a useful skill if one has chosen an acting career. On the other hand, for the layperson it can lead to a personality disorder called HPD, or Histrionics Personality Disorder.

Psychology Today magazine characterises HPD by the following symptoms:

- constantly seeking reassurance or approval
- excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
- excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval
- inappropriately seductive appearance or behaviour
- overly concerned with physical appearance
- tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are

For all cinema fans, there is perhaps no better way to understand the meaning of histrionics than by watching Gone With The Wind.

In one of the earliest scenes, which occurs at a barbecue party, Scarlett O'Hara decides to draw the attention of Ashley Wilkes (who already plans to marry the meek and mild Melanie) by essentially throwing herself at him. She puts on a superb performance, but watching the entire show is Rhett Butler, the savvy and street-wise son of a rich family who sees Scarlett's antics for what they really are: histrionics. He is nevertheless fascinated and eventually drawn into a relationship with her that is doomed to fail exactly because of her never-ending theatrics.


acting, dramatics, drama, feigning, performance, posing, posturing, pretence, put-on, show, showing off, stagecraft, stunt, theatrics

(Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus)

say something like:

"Don't pay attention to his HISTRIONICS. He always puts on a big show whenever the network goes down."

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