I can't seem to find a proper 1-word French translation of "hectic" in the sense of 'with disjointed feverish agitation'. Context: talking about a very agitated period of someone's life, possibly a bad one.

The French word "hectique" apparently only refers to some kind of feverish medical condition...

The words I found in dictionaries such as mouvementé, trépidant, agité, survolté do not account for the feverish sense of this word.


5 Answers 5


Although “tumultueux/euse” is probably used more often to describe such years or eras in world history or to describe someone’s entire life (as in the title of this film) than it is to describe a particular part of someone’s life, this entry from Word Reference makes a connection between that French adjective and hectic:

tumultueux adj littéraire (riche en événements)

tumultuous, eventful adj
hectic, turbulent adj

(here's another link to the film mentioned above which translates the original French title, La tumultueuse vie d'un déflaté, to The Hectic Life of a Dismissed Worker in English)

  • Thanks, that's a good one. :) And searching for more synonyms I also found 'houleux', 'chaotique', 'tourmenté'. I think the first two picture well the unfortunate side of the context I wanted to describe using 'hectic'. Still not perfect though... but we may not come any closer. :/
    – dyarob
    May 7, 2016 at 15:23

According to what I found here I'd translate to: "frénétique" or "intense"

  • 2
    Je ne pense pas que ces deux adjectifs soient les plus appropriés pour évoquer une période de la vie de quelqu'un…
    – zaphodef
    May 5, 2016 at 13:36

Context: talking about a very agitated period of s.o.'s life, possibly a bad one.

You can use « mouvementé » then. This is the most appropriate word French speakers would use. For instance : « une période mouvementée » (when refering to someone's life).

  • True, but it feels like the word is not strong enough in that case. I'm really talking about a nightmare-like period of s.o.'s life.
    – dyarob
    May 7, 2016 at 15:25

A few words exist :


Can refer to what you mean, can be quite pejorative.


But it's difficult to replace 'hectic' directly with 'agité', you would have to change the whole expression for it to fit.


Not especially pejorative, this is what I would use instead, unless you want it to be pejorative ; in that case, consider using 'mouvementé'.

  • That's also what I found on the internet, but it's not pejorative enough. :(
    – dyarob
    May 7, 2016 at 15:27

I think "maniaque" would match your description.

  • I see what you mean, but I'm not sure pple would catch up the meaning. Additionally, I feel that 'maniaque' refers more to the person's internal hectic state rather than his/her whole life being a mess. In the same category, we also found 'chaotique'.
    – dyarob
    May 7, 2016 at 15:30

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