hy·​per·​ki·​net·​ic | \ ˌhī-pər-kə-ˈne-tik How to pronounce hyperkinetic (audio) , -kī- \

Definition of hyperkinetic

1 : of, relating to, or affected with hyperkinesis or hyperactivity the hyperkinetic child
2 : characterized by fast-paced or frenetic activity a hyperkinetic movie

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Since the prefix hyper- means "above, beyond", hyperkinetic describes motion beyond the usual. The word is usually applied to children, and often describes the condition of almost uncontrollable activity or muscular movements called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder *(ADHD). Kids with ADHD are usually not just hyperkinetic but also inattentive, forgetful, and flighty. Though they're often treated with drugs, many experts believe there are better ways of dealing with the problem. Lots of people now shorten both *hyperactive and hyperkinetic to simply hyper ("He's been hyper all morning"), but usually don't mean it too seriously.

Examples of hyperkinetic in a Sentence

an elderly couple who are unable to control their hyperkinetic grandson
Recent Examples on the Web Still, his next move is certain to generate interest far beyond the hyperkinetic fish bowl of college basketball recruiting. New York Times, 30 July 2022 The atmosphere is hyperkinetic, and as the lights dim, the crowd takes a collective deep breath. Will "ill Will" Lavin, Rolling Stone, 26 May 2022 Quivoron is intent on plunging the viewer into Julia’s POV and employs hyperkinetic camerawork by Raphaël Vandenbussche that’s more self-conscious than involving. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 May 2022 Bodies pile up in this mash-up of science fiction, detective and conspiracy thriller — with a lot of humor and a big-screen, hyperkinetic energy. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 Watch all 136 minutes of the film’s hyperkinetic fragments—a case study of attention-deficit disorder—and your synapses will crackle, pop and eventually snap, exactly as they’re meant to. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 8 Apr. 2022 His hyperkinetic, hyper-stylized, hyper-everything art seemed barely contained by the page, helping define the nascent art form and establish the superhero genre and comic book industry. Roy Schwartz, CNN, 4 Nov. 2021 Travis Scott, the chart-topping Houston rapper known for his hyperkinetic live shows, has risen to the top of the hip-hop world thanks to a devoted and young fan base. Washington Post, 14 Oct. 2021 The hyperkinetic 1960 release, with its anti-establishment tone and homages to Hollywood gangster films, vaunted the French New Wave to the vanguard of world cinema and Belmondo along with it. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 6 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hyperkinetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hyperkinetic

1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of hyperkinetic was in 1888

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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hyperkinetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hyperkinetic. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for hyperkinetic


hy·​per·​ki·​net·​ic | \ -ˈnet-ik How to pronounce hyperkinetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of hyperkinetic

: of, relating to, or affected with hyperkinesis or hyperactivity the hyperkinetic child


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