[ fuh-nat-ik ]
/ fəˈnæt ɪk /
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a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.
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Origin of fanatic

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin fānāticus “pertaining to a temple, inspired by a divinity, frantic,” equivalent to fānum “temple” + -āticus, equivalent to -āt(us) -ate1 + -icus -ic

synonym study for fanatic

1. 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.


non·fa·nat·ic, noun, adjective


1. fanatic , frantic, frenetic2. fanatic , phonetic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does fanatic mean?

A fanatic is a person with an extreme and often unquestioning enthusiasm, devotion, or zeal for something, such as a religion, political stance, or cause.

This sense of the word is typically used negatively to imply that someone takes such devotion too far, as in They’re considered religious fanatics due to their extreme practices. Close synonyms are extremist, radical, and zealot.

Other times, fanatic is not used negatively but instead simply refers to someone who is extreme in their devotion or enthusiasm for an interest or hobby. For example, calling someone a sports fanatic means they’re an extremely enthusiastic fan of sports. In fact, the word fan is a shortening of fanatic.

Less commonly, fanatic can be used as an adjective meaning the same thing as fanatical—having and motivated by extreme enthusiasm or devotion.

Example: We dismiss them as fanatics, but their beliefs may be more widespread than we think.

Where does fanatic come from?

The first records of the word fanatic come from around 1530. It comes from the Latin fānāticus, meaning “pertaining to a temple, inspired by divinity, frantic.”

The devotion and enthusiasm of a fanatic goes beyond normal interest. It’s intense, extreme, and often unconditional, meaning it will probably continue no matter what—even in spite of evidence that such fanatical beliefs are wrong or dangerous.

Even when fanatic is not used in a negative way and simply refers to a fan, it often implies that someone is a die-hard fan who will continue to support the subject of their fandom no matter what.

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What are some other forms related to fanatic?

What are some synonyms for fanatic?

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What are some words that often get used in discussing fanatic?


How is fanatic used in real life?

When used negatively, fanatic is especially used in the context of religion and politics. When it’s used to mean “huge fan,” it’s especially used in the context of sports.



Try using fanatic!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of fanatic?

A. devotee
B. extremist
C. opponent
D. radical

How to use fanatic in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fanatic

/ (fəˈnætɪk) /

a person whose enthusiasm or zeal for something is extreme or beyond normal limits
informal a person devoted to a particular hobby or pastime; fana jazz fanatic
a variant of fanatical

Word Origin for fanatic

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