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Alternative forms




From Middle English frantike, frentik, variant of frenetik, from Old French frenetique, from Late Latin phreneticus, alteration of phreniticus, from φρενιτικός (phrenitikós, mad, suffering from inflammation of the brain), from φρενῖτις (phrenîtis, inflammation of the brain), from φρήν (phrḗn, the brain).[1] Doublet of frenetic and phrenitic.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfɹæntɪk/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -æntɪk



frantic (comparative more frantic, superlative most frantic)

  1. (archaic) Insane, mentally unstable.
  2. In a state of panic, worry, frenzy, or rush.
    They returned the missing child to his frantic mother.
    • 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “The Assignation”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 247:
      Sir George bore the annoyances of the night as a very vain man does totally unaccustomed to mortification. He was frantic with passion; he longed to kill somebody, but he did not know who.
  3. Extremely energetic.
    frantic music
    • 2011 October 1, Phil McNulty, “Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      At the end of a frantic first 45 minutes, there was still time for Charlie Adam to strike the bar from 20 yards before referee Atkinson departed to a deafening chorus of jeering from Everton's fans.



Derived terms






frantic (plural frantics)

  1. (archaic) A person who is insane or mentally unstable, madman.
    • 1595, George Peele, The Old Wives’ Tale, The Malone Society Reprints, 1908, lines 3-5,[2]
      How nowe fellowe Franticke, what all a mort? Doth this sadnes become thy madnes?
    • 1657, Aston Cockayne, The Obstinate Lady[3], London: Isaac Pridmore, act V, scene 3, page 56:
      [] who but sensless Franticks would have thoughts so poor? My Reason forsakes the government of this weak Frame, and I am fall’n into disorder []
    • 1721, Cotton Mather, diary entry for 16 July, 1721 in Diary of Cotton Mather, 1709-1724, Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, Seventh Series, Volume VIII, Boston: 1912, p. 632,[4]
      The Destroyer, being enraged at the Proposal of any Thing, that may rescue the Lives of our poor People from him, has taken a strange Possession of the People on this Occasion. They rave, they rail, they blaspheme; they talk not only like Ideots but also like Franticks, []


  1. ^ frantic”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.

Further reading