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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English frantik, frentik, 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.


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


frantic (comparative more frantic, superlative most frantic)

  1. (archaic) Insane, mentally unstable.
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew XV:
      Master have mercy on my sonne, for he is franticke: and ys sore vexed.
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act I, Scene 3,[1]
      If with myself I hold intelligence,
      Or have acquaintance with mine own desires;
      If that I do not dream, or be not frantic
      As I do trust I am not—then, dear uncle,
      Never so much as in a thought unborn
      Did I offend your Highness.
  2. In a state of panic, worry, frenzy or rush.
    They returned the missing child to his frantic mother.
  3. Extremely energetic
    frantic music
    • 2011 October 1, Phil McNulty, “Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      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.


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Related terms[edit]



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,[3]
      How nowe fellowe Franticke, what all a mort? Doth this sadnes become thy madnes?
    • 1657, Aston Cockayne, The Obstinate Lady, London: Isaac Pridmore, Act V, Scene 3, p. 56,[4]
      [] 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,[5]
      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.

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