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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English etik, ethik, from Old French etique, from Medieval Latin *hecticus, from Ancient Greek ἑκτικός (hektikós, habitual, hectic, consumptive), from ἕξις (héxis, a state or habit of body or of mind, condition), from ἔχειν (ékhein, to have, hold, intransitive be in a certain state).


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛktɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛktɪk
  • Hyphenation: hec‧tic


hectic (comparative more hectic, superlative most hectic)

  1. (obsolete) Denoting a type of fever accompanying consumption and similar wasting diseases, characterised by flushed cheeks and dry skin.
    hectic fever
  2. (obsolete) Pertaining to or symptomatic of such a fever.
    • 1788, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary, Oxford 2009, p. 18:
      Ann had a hectic cough, and many unfavourable prognostics [] .
    • 1826, Mary Shelley, The Last Man, volume 3, chapter 1:
      She never complained, but sleep and appetite fled from her, a slow fever preyed on her veins, her colour was hectic, and she often wept in secret [] .
  3. Very busy with activity and confusion; feverish.
    The city center is so hectic at 8 in the morning that I go to work an hour beforehand to avoid the crowds


Derived terms[edit]



hectic (plural hectics)

  1. (obsolete) A hectic fever.
  2. (obsolete) A flush like one produced by such a fever.
    • 1768, Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, London: T. Becket & P.A. De Hondt, Volume 1, p. 17,[2]
      The poor Franciscan made no reply: a hectic of a moment pass’d across his cheek, but could not tarry []
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, II.147:
      For still he lay, and on his thin worn cheek / A purple hectic played like dying day / On the snow-tops of distant hills []
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      an angry hectic in each cheek, a fierce flirt of her fan, and two or three short sniffs that betokened mischief

Further reading[edit]



From French hectique.


hectic m or n (feminine singular hectică, masculine plural hectici, feminine and neuter plural hectice)

  1. hectic