Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for fanatic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This fanatic affected sovereign power, and filled the whole city of Jeru'salem, and all the towns around, with tumult and pillage.

  • The member from Vermont pursued Jim with the bitterness of a fanatic.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • That's the third useless Hindu fanatic within a week who has talked about India being drenched in blood.

    Told in the East Talbot Mundy
  • Moreover, the old fellow was growing intolerant, fanatic, said Homais.

    Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
  • Because this second arrival wore his hat well forward the clerk was not able to discern the pinched forehead of the fanatic.

    The Drums Of Jeopardy Harold MacGrath
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fanatic

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fanatic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for fanatic