hec·​tic | \ ˈhek-tik How to pronounce hectic (audio) \

Definition of hectic

1 : characterized by activity, excitement, or confusion the hectic days before the holidays
2a medical : of, relating to, or being a fluctuating but persistent fever (as in tuberculosis)
b : having a hectic fever a hectic patient
3 : red, flushed hectic color on her cheeks

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Other Words from hectic

hectically \ ˈhek-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce hectically (audio) \ adverb
hectically busy

Semantic Crisis Intervention

Some people are bothered by changes in a word’s meaning (see: literally), while others have a more relaxed attitude towards semantic drift. For those who feel vexed when a word seems to have suddenly changed its spots, it may be of some comfort to know that words in English do this all the time; crisis is a fine example. Originally, crisis denoted “the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever.” Now it most commonly means “a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention,” yet few people insist that it should be used exclusively in its older meaning. The normality of semantic change can be seen in another word that first appeared in febrile contexts: hectic, which now is primarily used to mean “very busy,” originally referred to a fever that was fluctuating but recurrent.

Examples of hectic in a Sentence

We both had hectic days at work. She maintains a hectic schedule as a journalist and mother.

Recent Examples on the Web

However, the team's hectic schedule saw both parties decide to delay discussions. SI.com, "Virgil van Dijk 'Tells Liverpool' of Desire to Sign New Contract After Incredible Season," 5 June 2019 Her personal life is just as hectic: Her husband, Dwyane Wade, just played his last NBA game with the Miami Heat and is facing a new phase of his career. Ramou Sarr, Glamour, "Gabrielle Union Is ‘Not Here to Serve Hollywood’," 30 Apr. 2019 In short, Kate and Harry seem to be close friends, despite the hectic spotlight thrust upon the royals right now. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "A Body Language Expert Analyzes How Kate Middleton and Prince Harry Really Feel About Each Other," 26 Apr. 2019 That, and simply taking a break from the hectic hustle and bustle that comes with working on a hit TV show. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Sarah Hyland Talks Hair Loss, Regrowth, and Her Newfound Curls," 24 Apr. 2019 DSquared2 adhered to the recent Milan trend of combining the men’s and women’s shows, scheduling theirs during the less hectic January round focusing on menswear. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "For Prada, black nylon is a safe haven in a storm," 14 Jan. 2018 It's been a hectic lead-up to this year's Academy Awards–the 91st in history, which is not to imply by any means that anybody involved seems to have figured this particular production out. Vogue, "Oscars 2019: The Full List of Winners," 25 Feb. 2019 The program announcement comes just in time for the hectic spring buying season (AKA the best time to sell, according to Zillow data). Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Chase Will Pay You $1,000 If They Can’t Close Your Mortgage Fast Enough," 14 Feb. 2019 While Disney World has long been Central Florida's main draw—and for good reason!—it can get a little, well, hectic. Marissa Miller, Teen Vogue, "13 Dream Vacations to Add to Your Bucket List," 24 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hectic.' 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 hectic

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for hectic

Middle English etyk, from Anglo-French etique, from Late Latin hecticus, from Greek hektikos habitual, consumptive, from echein to have — more at scheme

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Statistics for hectic

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for hectic

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

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More Definitions for hectic



English Language Learners Definition of hectic

: very busy and filled with activity


hec·​tic | \ ˈhek-tik How to pronounce hectic (audio) \

Kids Definition of hectic

: filled with excitement, activity, or confusion We had a hectic day of shopping.


hec·​tic | \ ˈhek-tik How to pronounce hectic (audio) \

Medical Definition of hectic

1 : of, relating to, or being a fluctuating but persistent fever (as in tuberculosis)
2 : having a hectic fever a hectic patient

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More from Merriam-Webster on hectic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hectic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hectic

Spanish Central: Translation of hectic

Nglish: Translation of hectic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hectic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hectic

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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