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

mid-16c., an early Modern English restored classical spelling of frenetic (late 14c.). A doublet of frantic.

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frenetic (adj.)

late 14c., frenetik, "temporarily deranged, delirious, crazed," from Old French frenetike "mad, crazy" (13c.), from Latin phreneticus "delirious," alteration of Greek phrenitikos, from phrenitis (nosos) "frenzy, mental disease, insanity," literally "inflammation of the brain," from phrēn "mind, reason," also "diaphragm" (see phreno-) + -itis "inflammation." The classical ph- sometimes was restored from mid-16c. (see phrenetic). Related: Frenetical; frenetically. Compare frantic.

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bedevil (v.)
1768, "to treat diabolically, abuse," from be- + verbal use of devil (q.v.). Meaning "to mischievously confuse" is from 1755; that of "to drive frantic" is from 1823. Related: Bedeviled (1570s in a literal sense, "possessed"); bedeviling.
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hysteric (adj.)
1650s, "hysterical; relating to or affected with hysteria; emotionally disordered and frantic," from Latin hystericus, from Greek hysterikos "belonging to the womb" (see hysterical, which is the more common adjective). As a noun, "one who is hysterical," from 1751.
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brainy (adj.)
1832, "resembling brain matter;" 1845, "intelligent, clever," from brain (n.) + -y (2). Latin equivalent cerebrosus meant "passionate, enraged, hot-headed," leading Tucker to remark that " 'Brainy' is not a natural expression for 'frantic.' "
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hysterics (n.)

"fits or convulsions of hysteria," 1727, from hysteric "relating to or affected with hysteria; emotionally disordered and frantic" (see hysterical); also see -ics. Sometimes in 19c. jocular use folk-etymologized as high-strikes (1838).

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distracted (adj.)

1570s, "perplexed, harassed, or bewildered by opposing considerations," past-participle adjective from distract (v.). From 1580s as "disordered in intellect, frantic, mad." Related: Distractedly; distractedness.

Distracted driving is attested by 1999 in automobile safety technology. In later use it tends to especially refer to technological distractions, such as text messaging or talking on a mobile phone, but it also can refer to adjusting the radio, tending to a child, or talking to other passengers.

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distract (v.)

late 14c., distracten, "to turn or draw (a person, the mind) aside or away from any object; divert (the attention) from any point toward another point," from Latin distractus, past participle of distrahere "draw in different directions," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).

Sense of "to throw into a state of mind in which one knows not how to act, cause distraction in, confuse by diverse or opposing considerations" is from 1580s. Also formerly sometimes in a stronger sense, "disorder the reason of, render frantic or mad" (1590s). Literal senses of "pull apart in different directions and separate; cut into parts or sections" are from late 16c. but are rare or obsolete in English. Related: Distracted; distracting.

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distraught (adj.)

"distracted, frantic, deranged," late 14c., an alteration of distract (mid-14c.), which in its older form is long obsolete, a past-participle adjective from the Middle English verb distracten or else from Latin distractus "distracted, perplexed," past participle of distrahere "draw in different directions," from dis- "away" (see dis-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).

The Middle English alteration in form is perhaps by association with native past-participle forms in -ght, such as caught, bought, taught, brought. Compare distracted, which is a 16c. past-participle adjective from the same verb after the form of this word shifted.

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