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I'm looking for a single word that describes a person who often overreacts to things.

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I'm guessing that Histrionic Personality Disorder counts as "too many words". –  tchrist Aug 2 '13 at 19:45
    
Not exactly what I'm looking for, yet a interesting link. Thanks. –  Rodrigo Guedes Aug 2 '13 at 20:04
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You could perhaps try touchy (meaning 1):-

Tending to take offense with slight cause; oversensitive.

or perhaps hysterical (meaning 2):-

uncontrollably emotional.

or possibly histrionic (meaning 2):-

deliberately affected or self-consciously emotional; overly dramatic, in behavior or speech.

depending on the reason for the overreaction or the exact shade of meaning you are attempting to convey.

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If you want only a single word instead of a phrase, then "volatile" (easily provoked, intentionally or accidentally, to strong emotions and behavior) and "hysterical" (tending to react in an extremely emotional way) approximate your intended meaning. Both are generally derogatory and have little/no room for being used playfully, and usually refer as much to emotional states as actions.

Idiomatic phrases and compound words are more commonly used by native speakers to communicate the idea that a person tends to overreact, such as "hair-triggered", "flying off the handle", "high strung", "wound up", "tightly wound", "using a cannon to kill a fly", etc.

I'm not aware of any single word in the English language that simply means "a person who often/usually/always overreacts". Most uses are either more specific or more general, or a person would just say "they tend to overreact".

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While the first thing that comes to mind is the two word phrase Drama Queen, I think melodramatic is the best single word. If they tend to overreact by worrying, neurotic is another option.

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