hectic

adjective
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

The opening weeks of Naugles' Fountain Valley location in 2015 were so hectic that fans fainted in line because of the hours-long wait and excitement. Gustavo Arellano, latimes.com, "Remember Naugles Tacos? Never heard of it? The cult Mexican fast-food chain is expanding," 10 July 2019 The news comes amid a hectic week for those in the lyric business -- for better or for worse. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Deezer's Newest Feature Lets Users Add Song Lyrics to Instagram Stories," 19 June 2019 And with that, a hectic week of hoops and horses commenced. Jeff Duncan, NOLA.com, "Hectic week of horses, hoops ahead for Gayle Benson, team execs," 2 May 2018 If free agency wasn’t going to be hectic enough, this throws another unknown into the equation. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "How Kevin Durant's injury alters the NBA landscape — this summer and beyond," 11 June 2019 Trips on the Long Island Rail Road during the busy summer months are rather hectic when balancing a dog, especially when there are fewer seats than customers. Steve Eder, New York Times, "Pups Onboard: Why Trains Are a Great Way to Travel With Your Dog(s)," 19 June 2018 If their lives weren't hectic enough with three kids each, Inglish gave birth to her fourth child on April 20, and Gasper's is due July 20. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No charitable cause is too small for these two Pewaukee moms: 'We don't take our blessings for granted'," 8 June 2018 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

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

14 Jul 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 How to pronounce hectic (audio) \

Kids Definition of hectic

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

hectic

adjective
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

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

a small bunch of flowers

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'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!