hectic

adjective
hec·​tic | \ ˈhek-tik \

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 \ 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

While there are quite a few Italian places on the main strip that churn customers in and out like an assembly line, Pomodoro, thanks to its small size (just nine tables or so), never feels too hectic. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Best Restaurants in Boston," 16 July 2018 Sophomore Height: 6-4 • Weight: 213 Okogie has good size and a great motor, but his offensive instincts can feel a little hectic at times. Michael Singer, USA TODAY, "2018 NBA mock draft 3.0: Michael Porter Jr. vaults up board; Cavs nab Trae Young," 15 June 2018 Here is a selection of photos and videos that riders posted during as the hectic scene unfolded: #MBTA chaos of trying to bus thousands of people in from Kenmore. Heather Ciras, BostonGlobe.com, "What the Green Line looked like for commuters this morning," 12 June 2018 Now What: When the hectic holiday schedule becomes too much to bear, book a weekend at Canyon Ranch. Micaela English, Town & Country, "8 Wellness Retreats To Reset Your Body And Mind," 17 Dec. 2018 Practicing mindfulness and taking time away from your hectic schedule to center your thoughts will reap benefits in the bedroom. Gigi Engle, SELF, "How to Get Really Comfortable in Your Body for Sex," 8 Dec. 2018 Things will undoubtedly get hectic, so under this lunation, do your best to find a moment of calm. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What November's Leo Horoscope Means for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Though the city is hectic, her office (like her clothes) is tranquil, down a long, lush road off a busy street. Alex Frank, Vogue, "Woolmark Prize Winner Bodice Is a Handmade Homage to India—And So Much More," 8 Sep. 2018 Given the scope of his projects, the motto is lived on a grand, if hectic, scale. Alessandra Ilari, Town & Country, "Captain Italia," 7 Aug. 2014

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hectic

Dictionary Entries near hectic

hectare

hectastyle

hecte

hectic

hectical

hecticness

hective

Statistics for hectic

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hectic

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hectic

hectic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of hectic

: very busy and filled with activity

hectic

adjective
hec·​tic | \ ˈhek-tik \

Kids Definition of hectic

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

hectic

adjective
hec·​tic | \ ˈhek-tik \

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

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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