hectic

[14] The use of hectic for referring to ‘great haste or confusion’ is a surprisingly recent development, not recorded before the first decade of the 20th century. It originally meant in English ‘suffering from fever, particularly of the sort that characterizes tuberculosis or septicaemia’ (the metaphorical progression to ‘feverishly active’ is an obvious one). English acquired the word via Old French etique and late Latin hecticus from Greek hektikós, which meant literally ‘habitual’, and hence ‘suffering from a habitual or recurrent fever, consumptive’. It was a derivative of héxis ‘condition, habit’, which in turn was formed from the verb ékhein ‘hold, be in a particular condition’, which has also given English epoch. (The original English form of the word was etik; hectic represents a 16th-century return to the Latin form.)
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   The word was originally a medical term relating to the symptoms that usually accompany a fever. Hence its present sense to denote 'feverish' activity. The origin of the word is thus in Greek hektikos, 'habitual.'

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Synonyms:
(as the fever attending consumption), / , , ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • hectic — 1. The meaning that is now the dominant one, ‘busy and confused’, is fairly recent (early 20c) and has developed in the same way as the figurative meaning of feverish. Hectic was originally an adjective or noun referring to the kind of fever that …   Modern English usage

  • hectic — hec‧tic [ˈhektɪk] adjective FINANCE hectic trading is when a lot of people buy and sell shares, currencies etc: • hectic trading in which 3.1 million shares changed hands * * * hectic UK US /ˈhektɪk/ adjective ► extremely busy: »Business has been …   Financial and business terms

  • Hectic — Hec tic, a. [F. hectique, Gr. ? habitual, consumptive, fr. ? habit, a habit of body or mind, fr. ? to have; akin to Skr. sah to overpower, endure; cf. AS. sige, sigor, victory, G. sieg, Goth. sigis. Cf. {Scheme}.] 1. Habitual; constitutional;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hectic — Hec tic, n. 1. (Med.) Hectic fever. [1913 Webster] 2. A hectic flush. [1913 Webster] It is no living hue, but a strange hectic. Byron. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hectic — HÉCTIC v. hectică. Trimis de cata, 11.05.2008. Sursa: Neoficial  héctic adj. m., pl. héctici; f. sg. héctică, pl. héctice Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortogra …   Dicționar Român

  • hectic — (adj.) late 14c., etik (in fever etik), from O.Fr. etique consumptive, from L.L. hecticus, from Gk. hektikos continuous, habitual, consumptive (of a disease, because of the constant fever), from hexis a habit (of mind or body), from ekhein have,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hectic — [hek′tik] adj. [altered (after Fr or L) < ME etik < OFr étique (Fr hectique) < LL hecticus < Gr hektikos, habitual, hectic < hexis, permanent condition or habit of the body < echein, to have: for IE base see SCHOOL1] 1.… …   English World dictionary

  • hectic — [adj] frantic, turbulent animated, boisterous, burning, chaotic, confused, disordered, excited, exciting, fervid, fevered, feverish, flurrying, flustering, frenetic, frenzied, furious, hassle, heated, hell broke loose*, jungle*, madhouse*, nutsy* …   New thesaurus

  • hectic — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ full of incessant or frantic activity. DERIVATIVES hectically adverb. ORIGIN Greek hektikos habitual …   English terms dictionary

  • Hectic — Infobox Album | Name = Hectic Type = EP Artist = Operation Ivy Released = Original: 1988 Recorded = September 1987 Genre = Ska core Ska punk Length = 10:31 Label = Lookout Producer = Operation Ivy Last album = This album = Hectic (1988) Next… …   Wikipedia

  • hectic — /ˈhɛktɪk / (say hektik) adjective 1. characterised by great excitement, passion, activity, confusion, haste: a hectic meeting; a hectic day. 2. marking a particular habit or condition of body, as the fever of phthisis (hectic fever) when this is… …   Australian English dictionary

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