Imps of frustration: Frenzied, frenetic and frantic
Then there are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in the New Testament Book of Revelation. The Columbia Encyclopedia said that "the rider on the white horse has many interpretations -- one is that he represents Christ." The rider on the red horse is War. On the black horse is Famine, and Death spurs on the pale horse.
Now we have the Three Imps of Frustration for our hectic modern world, namely Frenzied, Frenetic and Frantic.
I learned of what I speak after a "working lunch" with educators here in Beaufort, SC. A school district administrator commented that the traffic on a local highway was frenetic. I replied that it could even be called frenzied, but I immediately wondered whether the two words amounted to much the same. My lunch companion thought each word had a distinct meaning.
But as I had suspected, frenzied, frenetic and frantic all share a common ancestor (Greek phrenetikos, meaning "affected with delirium" and, indeed, there is a "phrenetic" spelling in the Oxford English Dictionary). The words appear as mutual synonyms in Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus in Dictionary Form (edited by Barbara Ann Kipfer):
FRENZIED (uncontrolled): Agitated, berserk, convulsive, corybantic, delirious, distracted, distraught, excited, feverish, FRANTIC, FRENETIC, furious, hysterical, mad, maniacal, nuts, rabid, wild.
FRENETIC (maniacal): Corybantic, delirious, demented, distraught, excited, fanatical, FRANTIC, FRENZIED, furibund, furious, hyper, in a lather, insane, lost it, obsessive, overwrought, PHRENETIC, rabid, unbalanced, unscrewed, weirded out, wigged out, wild, wired.
FRANTIC (distressed, distracted): Agitated, angry, at wits' end, berserk, beside oneself, corybantic, crazy, delirious, deranged, distraught, excited, flipped out, fraught, freaked out, FRENETIC, FRENZIED, furious, hectic, hot and bothered, hot under the collar, hyper, in a stew, in a tizzy, insane, keyed up, mad, out of control, overwrought, rabid, raging, raving, shook up, spazzed out, unglued, unscrewed, unzipped, violent, weird, weirded out, wigged out, wild, wired, worked up, zonkers.
So to say that "traffic is frenzied, frenetic and frantic" is redundant, but appropriately emphatic. The meaning of these three words depends on the context of their use, as in these Googled quotations:
FRENZIED: "The pressure to compete, the fear somebody else will make the splash first creates a frenzied environment in which a blizzard of information is presented and serious questions may not be raised." (Carl Bernstein); ""Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." (Adlai Stevenson); ""It is one of the maladies of our age to profess a frenzied allegiance to truth in unimportant matters, to refuse consistently to face her where graver issues are at stake." (Janos Arany)
FRENETIC: "Lawlessness and violence ... were overlooked during those frenetic early years of the (gold) rush." (Gary F. Kurutz); "Making a living as a squirrel can be a thankless existence. There's the scampering up trees, the fretting over nuts, and the endless hours of pointless, frenetic scurrying." (Erik Vance); "Raves are all-night dance parties that feature frenetic music often accompanied by laser lights and video shows." (Jeffrey Lee et al. in the Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science)
FRANTIC: "What good is the cold iron of our frantic little efforts unless first we heat it in the furnace of our prayer?" (Mother Maribel); "What we are seeking so frantically elsewhere may turn out to be the horse we have been riding all along." (Harvey Cox); "The mass media molds everyone into more passive roles, into roles of more frantic consuming, into human beings with fragmented views of society." (Alice Embree)