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[fuh-nat-ik] /fəˈnæt ɪk/
a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.
Origin of fanatic
1515-25; < Latin fānāticus pertaining to a temple, inspired by orgiastic rites, frantic, equivalent to fān(um) temple + -āticus, equivalent to -āt(us) -ate1 + -icus -ic
Related forms
nonfanatic, noun, adjective
Can be confused
fanatic, frantic, frenetic (see synonym study at the current entry)
fanatic, phonetic.
1. enthusiast, zealot, bigot, hothead, militant. Fanatic, zealot, militant, devotee refer to persons showing more than ordinary support for, adherence to, or interest in a cause, point of view, or activity. Fanatic and zealot both suggest excessive or overweening devotion to a cause or belief. Fanatic further implies unbalanced or obsessive behavior: a wild-eyed fanatic. Zealot, only slightly less unfavorable in implication than fanatic, implies single-minded partisanship: a tireless zealot for tax reform. Militant stresses vigorous, aggressive support for or opposition to a plan or ideal and suggests a combative stance. Devotee is a milder term than any of the foregoing, suggesting enthusiasm but not to the exclusion of other interests or possible points of view: a jazz devotee. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for fanatic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Since I have seized my own liberty I am a fanatic for freedom.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • For the fanatic is one of the hinges which swing the door of the modern world.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • The fanatic is troublesome, but comparatively easy to deal with.

    Mountain Meditations L. Lind-af-Hageby
  • The great reformer was held a fanatic, intent on destroying government.

    Blood and Iron John Hubert Greusel
  • One word as to the alleged "intolerance of the fanatic Orangemen of Belfast."

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
British Dictionary definitions for fanatic


a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits
(informal) a person devoted to a particular hobby or pastime; fan: a jazz fanatic
a variant of fanatical
Word Origin
C16: from Latin fānāticus belonging to a temple, hence, inspired by a god, frenzied, from fānum temple
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fanatic

1520s, "insane person," from Latin fanaticus "mad, enthusiastic, inspired by a god," also "furious, mad," originally, "pertaining to a temple," from fanum "temple," related to festus "festive" (see feast). Meaning "zealous person" is mid-17c. As an adjective, in English, 1530s, "furious;" meaning "characterized by excessive enthusiasm," especially in religion (of Nonconformists), is from 1640s.

A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. [attributed to Winston Churchill]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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