fre·​net·​ic | \ fri-ˈne-tik How to pronounce frenetic (audio) \

Definition of frenetic

: marked by fast and energetic, disordered, or anxiety-driven activity : frenzied, frantic sense 2 a frenetic attempt to beat a deadline frenetic bursts of energy maintaining a frenetic pace … succumb to exhaustion merely trying to keep up with the president's frenetic schedule.The Economist … the "threatening" success of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," the signature book of the 1950s Beat Generation, and its frenetic search for sensation.— Dennis Farney

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Other Words from frenetic

frenetically \ fri-​ˈne-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce frenetically (audio) \ adverb
Dillon and Deanne laughed and boogied frenetically for a moment, and then began to waltz as the speed was adjusted… — Peter Cameron Impulsive, provocative, frenetically energetic, teeming with ideas, articulate, generous and courageous, Dr Kouchner is also blunt, abrasive, impatient, disorganised, opinionated and quick-tempered. The Economist
freneticism \ fri-​ˈne-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce freneticism (audio) \ noun
… the freneticism of the urban milieu of the late fifties and early sixties … — Gregory W. Bredbeck Nonstop one-liners, cartoon characters, pointless freneticism and a ridiculous denouement do not a mystery novel make. — Sybil Steinberg

Did You Know?

When life gets frenetic, things can seem absolutely insane - at least that seems to be what folks in the Middle Ages thought. Frenetik, in Middle English, meant "insane." When the word no longer denoted stark raving madness, it conjured up fanatical zealots. Today its seriousness has been downgraded to something more akin to hectic. But if you trace frenetic back through Anglo-French and Latin, you'll find that it comes from Greek phrenitis, a term describing an inflammation of the brain. Phrēn, the Greek word for "mind," is a root you will recognize in schizophrenic. As for frenzied and frantic, they're not only synonyms of frenetic but relatives as well. Frantic comes from frenetik, and frenzied traces back to phrenitis.

Examples of frenetic in a Sentence

The celebration was noisy and frenetic. the frenetic rush to get every member of the cast in place before the curtain went up
Recent Examples on the Web Some of the boom this year is down to frenetic trading by individual investors, but the same is true for the U.S. and many other countries. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Why You Didn’t Notice a Japanese Stock Index Beating the Nasdaq This Year," 13 Oct. 2020 Stardust points out that Mercury will be in Libra on this day, and the sign of the scales is one of the best signs to have all of this frenetic cosmic energy transpire, because it's known to be fair-minded and balanced. Elizabeth Gulino,, "October’s Mercury Retrograde Is Going To Be Rough," 11 Oct. 2020 The debate seemed sort of normal—at least after Trump’s frenetic performance of a week earlier. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Mike Pence’s Trumpian Makeover," 8 Oct. 2020 But the theory is that racing Sunday will be a trademark Talladega, a frenetic rush to grab a victory and slide into the third round of the playoffs. Mark Heim |, al, "Talladega live stream (10/4): How to watch NASCAR’s YellaWood 500 online, TV, time," 4 Oct. 2020 But the theory is that racing Sunday will be a trademark Talladega, a frenetic rush to grab a victory and slide into the third round of the playoffs. Jenna Fryer,, "NASCAR focused on playoffs upon return to Talladega," 3 Oct. 2020 While photojournalists had captured the rousing speeches and the frenetic activity around the erstwhile mosque on and around Dec. 6, the court found no evidence that directly implicated the 32 accused. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A timeline of the Babri-Ayodhya case—from land dispute to criminal conspiracy," 30 Sep. 2020 These are the sort of frenetic clothes that teens and early twenty-somethings flex in when recording TikTok clips or documenting their outfits on Instagram. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Can a ‘Rent the Runway’ Model Work for Men?," 5 Oct. 2020 The timing and magnitude of the pulses clearly marked them as artificial; there was nothing in the natural world that could produce such a frenetic radio profile. Daniel Oberhaus Supercluster, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why Astronomers Want to Build a SETI Observatory on the Moon," 2 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frenetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of frenetic

circa 1529, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for frenetic

Middle English frenetik insane, from Anglo-French, from Latin phreneticus, modification of Greek phrenitikos, from phrenitis inflammation of the brain, from phren-, phrēn diaphragm, mind

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Time Traveler for frenetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of frenetic was circa 1529

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Frenetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for frenetic


How to pronounce frenetic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of frenetic

: filled with excitement, activity, or confusion : wild or frantic

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