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

Definition of frenetic

: frenzied, frantic a frenetic attempt to beat a deadline frenetic bursts of energy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from frenetic

frenetically \ fri-​ˈne-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce frenetically (audio) \ adverb
freneticism \ fri-​ˈne-​tə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce freneticism (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for frenetic


delirious, ferocious, feverish, fierce, frantic, frenzied, furious, mad, rabid, violent, wild



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The race got off to a frenetic start, as the bikes whirred off the line in front of a curious Sachsenring crowd. Jonathan Hawkins, CNN, "Phoenix from the flames: MotoE takes to the circuit just months after fire," 8 July 2019 The request reached Farhan Zaidi, then the general manager of the Dodgers, in the frenetic hours before the trade deadline Aug. 1, 2016. Andy Mccullough,, "How the Houston Astros nabbed slugger Yordan Alvarez from the Dodgers," 6 July 2019 Even during a handful of incongruous scenes when this low-key indie drama switches gear into frenetic farce, complete with police chases and double-crossing subplots, the film retains this pleasingly crunchy kernel of truth. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'End of Sentence': Film Review | Edinburgh 2019," 30 June 2019 There are also motorcycle and skateboarding sections that take the standard mix of frenetic action and slowed-down acrobatics and put them on fast-moving rails. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Slo-mo shoot ‘em up My Friend Pedro will make you obsess over high scores," 29 June 2019 During the presentations, she was seated on one of the bar’s long communal benches, eyeing the clock and commanding the air horn, promptly tooting it after three minutes of frenetic friend-pitching. Terry Nguyen, Washington Post, "When your friends are so desperate to get you a date that they resort to PowerPoint," 27 June 2019 The frenetic new character Forky, the craft spork toy made by the film's kindergarten child Bonnie, wasn't designed solely by computer or on the drawing pad. Michael Cavna,, "The 10 best secrets, surprises and Easter eggs from ‘Toy Story 4’," 27 June 2019 The Cowboys hope Quinn will ensure a frenetic right-edge presence against both the pass and run. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Why former Pro Bowl DE Robert Quinn chose Cowboys over Saints as trade destination," 24 June 2019 The trial was televised daily with frenetic commentary. Margo Jefferson, Harper's magazine, "Lost Boy," 24 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of frenetic

14th century, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about frenetic

Listen to Our Podcast about frenetic

Dictionary Entries near frenetic

french yellow







Statistics for frenetic

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frenetic

The first known use of frenetic was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for frenetic



English Language Learners Definition of frenetic

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on frenetic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frenetic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frenetic

Spanish Central: Translation of frenetic

Nglish: Translation of frenetic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frenetic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on frenetic

What made you want to look up frenetic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!