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

Keep scrolling for more

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 There was no time built into his hectic schedule to zoom around Bears headquarters turning off all the televisions. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Bears Sunday storylines: Defending Mitch Trubisky’s TV comments, Kenny Golladay’s Pro Bowl hopes and an eviction notice at Club Dub," 8 Nov. 2019 With such hectic schedules, our normal routines tend to get a bit out of whack, which can throw off our diet and exercise. Alex Aronson, Redbook, "14 Influencers Reveal Their Holiday Fitness Secrets," 31 Oct. 2019 Take time out from your hectic schedule to try something unique or unusual. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 26, 2019: Aries, people skills get you noticed; Capricorn, don’t take out irritations on loved one," 26 Oct. 2019 The long break between records was partially due to the band's hectic touring schedule, including a headline gig at Coachella in April. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "Tame Impala announce new album 'The Slow Rush,' its first in five years," 25 Oct. 2019 Manchester City midfielder Rodri has said his side must 'wake up' and learn from the defensive mishaps that cost them against Norwich City, saying that their hectic forthcoming schedule means there is no more room for error. SI.com, "Rodri Claims Manchester City Need to 'Wake Up' & Eliminate Individual Mistakes," 15 Sep. 2019 Bell's hectic schedule is something so many people can relate to. Rebecca Shinners, Health.com, "Kristen Bell Just Revealed Why Her Anxiety and Depression Have Become So Awful—and It’s Extremely Relatable," 21 Aug. 2019 But the boy band’s seven members weren’t the only ones with hectic schedules. New York Times, "As BTS’s Reach Expands, an Army of Dedicated K-Pop Translators Grows," 4 July 2019 Nardini said the morning was hectic, which didn’t give her time to acknowledge the emotions around her son’s first day of school. Emily Brindley, courant.com, "Farmington schools open for the year, among earliest in the state," 26 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

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 entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hectic

Time Traveler for hectic

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for hectic

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hectic.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hectic. Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hectic


How to pronounce hectic (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hectic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hectic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!