Friday, November 26, 2004


From the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day service:

The Word of the Day for November 26 is:

frenetic \frih-NET-ik\ adjective: frenzied, frantic

Example sentence:

It’s the day after Thanksgiving—a day described by Amber Veverka (Charlotte [NC] Observer, November 10, 2003) as “the official, frenetic kickoff for the Christmas shopping season.”

Did you know?

When life gets frenetic, things can seem absolutely insane—at least that seems to be what folks in the Middle Ages thought. “Frenetik,” in Middle English, meant “insane.” When the word no longer denoted stark raving madness, it conjured up fanatical frenetic zealots. Today we’re even willing to downgrade its seriousness to something more akin to “hectic.” But if you trace “frenetic” back through Anglo-French and Latin, you’ll find that it comes from Greek “phrenitis,” a term describing an inflammation of the brain. “Phren” is the Greek word for “mind,” a root you will recognize in “schizophrenic.”

As for “frenzied” and “frantic,” they’re not only synonyms but relatives as well. “Frantic” comes from “frenetik,” and “frenzied” traces back to “phrenitis.”

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