heap of hysterics


Senior Member
Slovenia, Slovenian
Hello everyone,

I was wondering about the expression "a heap of hysterics". Does it imply that the person laughing hysterically has collapsed on the floor, or is lying, or rolling on the floor laughing?
I came across it in Jandy Nelson's "The Sky is Everywhere". Lennie, the protagonist, is remembering the times when she and her sister Bailey held their own dance competitions "to out-goofball the other without cracking up. I always lost because Bailey had in her arsenal The Ferret Face, which when combined with her masterful Monkey Moves, was certifiably deadly; if she pulled the combo (which took more unself-consciousness than I could ever muster), I was a goner, reduced to a helpless heap of hysterics, every time."

Thanks for any suggestions!
Last edited:
  • 0hisa2me

    Senior Member
    British English
    A 'heap' generally means something unorganised, without any structure to it. A heap of clothes, for example, is a pile of clothes that have been put there without any thought for order or tidiness. So a person who is reduced to a heap of hysterics, while they may possibly have collapsed to the floor, means, I think, that they no longer have any control over themselves, that they are powerless to master their emotions.
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