[ fuh-nat-uh-sahyz-uhm ]
/ fəˈnæt əˌsaɪz əm /
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fanatical character, spirit, or conduct.
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Origin of fanaticism

First recorded in 1705–15; fanatic + -ism

Words nearby fanaticism

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does fanaticism mean?

Fanaticism is an extreme and often unquestioning enthusiasm, devotion, or zeal for something, such as a religion, political stance, or cause. It can also refer to behavior motivated by such enthusiasm or devotion.

A person who engages in fanaticism can be called a fanatic, and they or their behavior or beliefs can be described as fanatical.

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.

Fanaticism can be used in reference to either kind of fanatic.

Example: We dismiss it as fanaticism, but this belief system may be more widespread than we think.

Where does fanaticism come from?

The first records of the word fanaticism come from the early 1700s. The base word, fanatic, comes from the Latin fānāticus, meaning “pertaining to a temple, inspired by divinity, frantic.” The suffix -ism refers to a doctrine or practice.

The devotion and enthusiasm of a fanatic goes beyond normal interest. Fanaticism is 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 in their fanaticism no matter what.

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What are some other forms related to fanaticism?

What are some synonyms for fanaticism?

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

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


How is fanaticism used in real life?

The word fanaticism is usually used negatively, especially in the context of religion and politics.



Try using fanaticism!

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

A. zealousness
B. extremism
C. opposition
D. radicalism

How to use fanaticism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fanaticism

/ (fəˈnætɪˌsɪzəm) /

wildly excessive or irrational devotion, dedication, or enthusiasm
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