Definition of hectic in US English:



  • 1Full of incessant or frantic activity.

    ‘a hectic business schedule’
    • ‘Decompress after a hectic workday by taking a walk, going to the gym to work out or taking a bath or shower.’
    • ‘Errors are more likely to occur with pressure for quick turnovers and the general rush present during a hectic day.’
    • ‘Well, the village is settling back into a normal routine again after all the hectic activities organised around Christmas.’
    • ‘After the hectic year in hospital it was a great comedown to be treating minor ailments of fit young men, half of them anxious to avoid guard duties.’
    • ‘‘Sometimes it's a bit hectic, but generally it's fine,’ he says.’
    • ‘But I have to admit that, during the most hectic hour of my professional career, I omitted one vital midwifery task.’
    • ‘What with raucous classes and a year full of hectic lessons ahead, most teachers do not have time for the child with a problem, said many participants.’
    • ‘Life has been a touch hectic, but I am reliably informed that that is no excuse for a lethargic manner, so I hope you'll accept my apologies on this matter.’
    • ‘It's just as well as she has a hectic lifestyle and is regularly on the road.’
    • ‘With a heavy inflow of pilgrims adding to the hectic business activity on the streets branching out from the temple, regulating traffic is not an easy task.’
    • ‘For a couple of hours there is hectic activity and on every side there are vigorous walkers and indefatigable joggers getting their morning exercise.’
    • ‘The annual summer festival, which came to a close on Thursday July 25, was, overall, a hectic, enjoyable and fun-filled week.’
    • ‘How do we manage ourselves so that we can survive our hectic days yet keep our humanity when treating these difficult patients?’
    • ‘The major obstacle for implementing any information system is the extra work required, especially in the hectic healthcare setting.’
    • ‘A more hectic lifestyle, with limited time for planning, shopping, and cooking meals, may partly explain this relationship.’
    • ‘Sorry I haven't been blogging - it's been a little hectic getting ready for Christmas.’
    • ‘‘It's been a hectic few days,’ he said with a rather tired smile.’
    • ‘Pakistan's booming economy is most clearly visible in the hectic building activity in Lahore.’
    • ‘So what is she thinking of as she watches all this hectic activity?’
    • ‘After qualifying I went on to work in a far more busy and hectic unit, that did over 3500 deliveries a year.’
    frantic, frenetic, frenzied, feverish, manic, restless, very busy, very active, fast and furious
    View synonyms
  • 2Medicine
    archaic Relating to, affected by, or denoting a regularly recurrent fever typically accompanying tuberculosis, with flushed cheeks and hot, dry skin.

    • ‘He was breathing easier, and the hectic flush was fading from his face.’
    • ‘Within a year, however, he contracted and died of a hectic fever.’
    • ‘He uses hectic fever as an analogy - as hectic fever is to the body, political maladies are to a state.’
    • ‘He likens the maladies of a state to the hectic fever.’


  • A hectic fever or flush.

    • ‘At the same time the irritative fever and hectic hitherto so much dreaded in large abscesses are, with perfect security, entirely avoided.’


Late Middle English etik, via Old French from late Latin hecticus, from Greek hektikos ‘habitual’, from hexis ‘habit, state of mind or body’. The original association with the symptoms of tuberculosis ( hectic fever) gave rise to sense 1 in the early 20th century.