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  1. desperate or wild with excitement, passion, fear, pain, etc.; frenzied.
  2. Archaic. insane; mad.
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Origin of frantic

1325–75; Middle English frantik, frenetik < Old French frenetique < Latin phrenēticus delirious < Greek phrenētikós. See frenzy, -tic
Related formsfran·ti·cal·ly, fran·tic·ly, adverbfran·tic·ness, noun
Can be confusedfanatic frantic frenetic (see synonym study at fanatic)

Synonyms for frantic

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for frantic

frenzied, delirious, angry, mad, hectic, agitated, furious, distraught, frenetic, weird, overwrought, berserk, crazy, deranged, excited, fraught, insane, rabid, raging, raving

Examples from the Web for frantic

Contemporary Examples of frantic

Historical Examples of frantic

  • 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


  1. distracted with fear, pain, joy, etc
  2. marked by or showing frenzyfrantic efforts
  3. archaic insane
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Derived Formsfrantically or franticly, adverbfranticness, noun

Word Origin for frantic

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

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper