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[fran-tik] /ˈfræn tɪk/
desperate or wild with excitement, passion, fear, pain, etc.; frenzied.
Archaic. insane; mad.
Origin of frantic
1325-75; Middle English frantik, frenetik < Old French frenetique < Latin phrenēticus delirious < Greek phrenētikós. See frenzy, -tic
Related forms
frantically, franticly, adverb
franticness, noun
Can be confused
fanatic, frantic, frenetic (see synonym study at fanatic)
1. overwrought, agitated, frenzied, distraught. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for frantic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • How frantic, as if all things were about to eventuate, remembering not that nothing ends.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The frantic movement and din of shrieks disturbed Uncle Peter.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The two men bent to the task, heedless of Mary's frantic protest.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • When, at last, words came, they were a frantic prayer of protest.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The Indians knew enough of English to understand this frantic cry.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
British Dictionary definitions for frantic


distracted with fear, pain, joy, etc
marked by or showing frenzy: frantic efforts
(archaic) insane
Derived Forms
frantically, franticly, adverb
franticness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French frenetique, from Latin phrenēticus mad, frenetic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frantic

mid-14c., "insane," unexplained variant of Middle English frentik (see frenetic). Transferred meaning "affected by wild excitement" is from late 15c. Of the adverbial forms, frantically (1749) is later than franticly (1540s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for frantic



  1. Excellent; wonderful; cool
  2. Conventional; bourgeois; uncool: The man who cares is now derided for being ''frantic'' (1940+ Jazz musicians)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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