An adjective pronounced fri-'ne-tik akin to frantic as, the frenetic piccolos sounding above the massed brass in a Sousa march. Some may refer to life as passing at a frenetic pace. Sometimes it appears frantic. And you may have even seen people working themselves into a frenzy over some issue or another. Did you ever consider that these words are related? They are indeed.

Phrén is the Greek word for "mind." Phrén produced phrenítis inflammation of the brain or delirium and then phrenetikús, from there entered the Latin word phreneticus and Old French as frenetique. From frenetique English took the Old French form twice, once as phrenetic from the Latin spelling;while the U.S. spelling variant becaame frenetic and frentik, which eventually became frantic, although the reason for the change from e to a remains unexplained. Sometime in the 14th Century frenzy arose as the noun form of these words .

It may be interesting to note that there is not a common connection between all of these frantic to connect "delirium" any longer. I think it might be a bit less stressful if we could all be temporarily delirious now and again.

Sources:

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Fre*net"ic (?), a. [See Frantic, a.]

Distracted; mad; frantic; phrenetic.

Milton.

 

© Webster 1913.

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