Monday, April 09, 2018

Frantic/Frenetic & Eager/Anxious

Mildred from Kalkaska asked about the difference between frantic and frenetic. Both are practically synonyms (Merriam-Webster defines frenetic as frantic), but there are shades of difference in meaning. Both describe hyperactivity resulting from the pressure of an event or a deadline. To my mind, frantic is a bit more negative and emotional. It verges on loss of control. Frenetic, on the other hand, seems to signify a degree of control, however tenuous. Rescuers become frantic as the hours roll on after an earthquake, so they engage in frenetic activity. Frenetic pairs with frenzied, and frantic pairs with desperate.

Frenetic tracks back to a Greek word meaning a delirious mind. It was originally a medical condition. Frantic is connected to the same Greek word. The insanity part has been diluted through the centuries.

Peter from Traverse City commented on the difference between eager and anxious. He asked if I was anxious for golf season to begin, then quickly changed it to eager. Of the two, anxious is more negative and stressful, based as it is on the word anxiety. It comes from a Latin word meaning to strangle, which would certainly cause distress and apprehension. Eager means filled with positive desire, keenly anticipating something imminent. It comes from an Anglo-Norman word that meant impatiently desirous. So I am eager for golf to begin again, but anxious that my worsening arthritis may make my game even more wretched than it has been.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Dona Sheehan's prints