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During the holidays, my mother became febrile; not only was she feverish, but was also filled with nervous and hectic energy. She never stopped moving, despite running a temperature; instead of resting, she went from one preparation to the next in a constant blur of febrile, feverish activity. When I offered to do some of the holiday cooking, she turned down my help and continued to scurry about the house in a highly excited, nervous, and febrile effort to make everything perfect. Unfortunately, the activity became too much for her, which caused her febrile temperature to peak at 105.

Quiz: In which of the following would you most likely read about a febrile person?

  • A medical journal describing common symptoms of the flu.
  • An epic poem about a well-known hero of ancient Greece.
  • A speech revealing the little-known flaws of a beloved historic figure.

Memory Hook

Fever-riled This worsening fever of his had him all riled up to the point where he was feeling fever-riled and febrile.


  • Lush, extravagant, sad and touching, this film version of "Love in the Time of Cholera" still feels weirdly insubstantial when all the febrile passion has abated. Like a fever it breaks, passes and is forgotten. —The Washington Post
  • Such was the febrile atmosphere within the Jamaican camp that 25 of them— half the athletics team—marched in protest in the athletes village earlier on Monday holding banners saying "Merlene out, Peta in, Relays out." —The Irish Times
  • One explanation for this revival of influence is that, with markets so febrile, any shift in opinion is bound to have an exaggerated effect. —The Economist

Word Ingredients

febr fever
-ile tending to do or be something

Febrile activity is so heated that it becomes like a “fever.” Notice that the letters “b” and “v” are often interchangeable.

Word Constellation