[ fuh-nat-i-kuhl ]
/ fəˈnæt ɪ kəl /
Save This Word!

motivated or characterized by an extreme, uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
Also fanatic.

Origin of fanatical

First recorded in 1540–50; fanatic + -al1

synonym study for fanatical


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does fanatical mean?

Fanatical means having and being motivated by an extreme and often unquestioning enthusiasm, devotion, or zeal for something, such as a religion, political stance, or cause.

A person who shows such extreme enthusiasm or devotion is called a fanatic. Sometimes, fanatic is 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.

Fanatical can be used to describe either a kind of fanatic or such a person’s beliefs or behavior.

Example: We dismiss these extreme beliefs by calling them fanatical, but they may be more widespread than we think.

Where does fanatical come from?

The first records of the word fanatical come from the mid-1500s. The suffix -al makes it the adjective form of fanatic, which 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 fanatical fandom no matter what.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to fanatical?

  • fanatically (adverb)
  • fanatic (noun, adjective)

What are some synonyms for fanatical?

What are some words that share a root or word element with fanatical

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


How is fanatical used in real life?

Fanatical is usually used negatively, especially in the context of religion and politics.



Try using fanatical!

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

A. frenzied
B. zealous
C. mild
D. zealous

How to use fanatical in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fanatical

/ (fəˈnætɪkəl) /

surpassing what is normal or accepted in enthusiasm for or belief in something; excessively or unusually dedicated or devoted

Derived forms of fanatical

fanatically, adverb
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