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[hek-tik] /ˈhɛk tɪk/
characterized by intense agitation, excitement, confused and rapid movement, etc.:
The week before the trip was hectic and exhausting.
Origin of hectic
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin hecticus < Greek hektikós habitual, consumptive, adj. corresponding to héxis possession, state, habit, equivalent to *hech-, base of échein to have + -sis -sis; see -tic; replacing Middle English etyk < Middle French
Related forms
hectically, hecticly, adverb
hecticness, noun
nonhectic, adjective
nonhectically, adverb
unhectic, adjective
unhectically, adverb
frantic, frenzied, wild, chaotic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for hectic


characterized by extreme activity or excitement
associated with, peculiar to, or symptomatic of tuberculosis (esp in the phrases hectic fever, hectic flush)
a hectic fever or flush
(rare) a person who is consumptive or who experiences a hectic fever or flush
Derived Forms
hectically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin hecticus, from Greek hektikos habitual, from hexis state, from ekhein to have
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 hectic

late 14c., etik (in fever etik), from Old French etique "consumptive," from Late Latin hecticus, from Greek hektikos "continuous, habitual, consumptive" (of a disease, because of the constant fever), from hexis "a habit (of mind or body)," from ekhein "have, hold, continue" (see scheme).

The Latin -h- was restored in English 16c. Sense of "feverishly exciting, full of disorganized activity" first recorded 1904, but hectic also was used in Middle English as a noun meaning "feverish desire, consuming passion" (early 15c.). Hectic fevers are characterized by rapid pulse, among other symptoms. Related: Hecticness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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