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 For 40 minutes, the quietly frenetic focus continues. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "Bolsonaro calls coronavirus a 'little flu.' Inside Brazil's hospitals, doctors know the horrifying reality," 23 May 2020 Several people also said that Yusupov, a talented designer and creative thinker, could be erratic—alternating between bursts of frenetic activity and long periods of inaction. Kurt Wagner,, "Inside the Seething Boardroom Drama That Poisoned HQ Trivia," 8 May 2020 Doubles from about $202 Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve The high-stakes Cabo hotel scene has been particularly frenetic for the past few years, with fresh openings from big-name players like Four Seasons, Montage, and Viceroy. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best New Hotels in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America: 2020 Hot List," 5 May 2020 For director Jessica Yu, the time at the Orpheum was frenetic. Los Angeles Times, "How ‘Hollywood’ re-created the 1948 Oscars to the last detail — except the winners," 4 May 2020 As the evening wore on, what was at first frenetic determination to pull off a miracle subsided into resignation and then into finger-pointing — at King, the VA bureaucracy, the market itself. J. David Mcswane, ProPublica, "How Profit and Incompetence Delayed N95 Masks While People Died at the VA," 1 May 2020 As cities and states reach their case peaks and pressure starts to mount regarding the relaxation of mitigation measures, the Trump camp has already vowed to hold his frenetic signature campaign rallies in the fall. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Joe Biden benefiting by forced stay-at-home media strategy," 24 Apr. 2020 Poeltl has become the kind of blue-collar, dirty-work player that fits well with the Spurs’ frenetic second unit. Jeff Mcdonald,, "How did Jakob Poeltl fare this season and what is his future with the Spurs?," 12 Apr. 2020 His appointment ended a frenetic search that bordered on the absurd as Ingram spent part of the time conducting business from the tight quarters of his bedroom closet. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "How Western Michigan pulled off the near-impossible: Finding a coach during a pandemic," 8 Apr. 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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Frenetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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