- characterized by intense agitation, excitement, confused and rapid movement, etc.: The week before the trip was hectic and exhausting.
Origin of hectic
SynonymsSee more synonyms for hectic on Thesaurus.com
- 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
Word Origin and History for hecticness
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.