hectic

play
adjective hec·tic \ˈhek-tik\

Definition of hectic

  1. 1 :  characterized by activity, excitement, or confusion the hectic days before the holidays

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

  3. 3 :  red, flushed hectic color on her cheeks

hectically

play \ˈhek-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb hectically busy

Examples of hectic in a sentence

  1. We both had hectic days at work.

  2. She maintains a hectic schedule as a journalist and mother.

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.

Origin and Etymology of hectic

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


First Known Use: 14th century


HECTIC Defined for English Language Learners

hectic

play
adjective hec·tic \ˈhek-tik\

Definition of hectic for English Language Learners

  • : very busy and filled with activity


HECTIC Defined for Kids

hectic

play
adjective hec·tic \ˈhek-tik\

Definition of hectic for Students

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


Medical Dictionary

hectic

play
adjective hec·tic \ˈhek-tik\

Medical Definition of hectic

  1. 1:  of, relating to, or being a fluctuating but persistent fever (as in tuberculosis)

  2. 2:  having a hectic fever a hectic patient



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a frightening dream

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • manet-jeanne-spring
  • Which is a synonym of chaffer?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!