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[fran-tik] /ˈfræn tɪk/
desperate or wild with excitement, passion, fear, pain, etc.; frenzied.
Archaic. insane; mad.
Origin of frantic
1325-75; Middle English frantik, frenetik < Old French frenetique < Latin phrenēticus delirious < Greek phrenētikós. See frenzy, -tic
Related forms
frantically, franticly, adverb
franticness, noun
Can be confused
fanatic, frantic, frenetic (see synonym study at fanatic)
1. overwrought, agitated, frenzied, distraught. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for frantic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Jane burst into tears, but Anthea, though pale and frantic, was dry-eyed.

  • When, at last, words came, they were a frantic prayer of protest.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The young ladies were taunting one another; Juliet in frantic passion; Cherry in sarcastic mockery.

    Johnny Ludlow, Sixth Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • The Indians knew enough of English to understand this frantic cry.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Then the pent-up cry bursts forth in frantic volume, for the gleaming horns have done their work, and buen toro!

British Dictionary definitions for frantic


distracted with fear, pain, joy, etc
marked by or showing frenzy: frantic efforts
(archaic) insane
Derived Forms
frantically, franticly, adverb
franticness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French frenetique, from Latin phrenēticus mad, frenetic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frantic

mid-14c., "insane," unexplained variant of Middle English frentik (see frenetic). Transferred meaning "affected by wild excitement" is from late 15c. Of the adverbial forms, frantically (1749) is later than franticly (1540s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for frantic



  1. Excellent; wonderful; cool
  2. Conventional; bourgeois; uncool: The man who cares is now derided for being ''frantic'' (1940+ Jazz musicians)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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