[ fuh-nat-uh-sahyz ]
/ fəˈnæt əˌsaɪz /
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verb (used with object), fa·nat·i·cized, fa·nat·i·ciz·ing.

to make fanatical.

verb (used without object), fa·nat·i·cized, fa·nat·i·ciz·ing.

to act with or show fanaticism.



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Also especially British, fa·nat·i·cise .

Origin of fanaticize

First recorded in 1705–15; fanatic + -ize
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does fanaticize mean?

To fanaticize someone is to make them into a fanatic—a person with an extreme and often unquestioning enthusiasm, devotion, or zeal for something, such as a religion, political stance, or cause. It can also mean to become a fanatic.

Much less commonly, it can mean to act in such a way—to engage in fanaticism or fanatical behavior.

Fanatic 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.

Fanaticize is most commonly used in reference to this sense of the word fanatic. When it is, a close synonym is radicalize.

But fanatic can also be used in a way that’s not negative 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. Fanaticize can be used in reference to this sense of fanatic, but it’s much less common.

Example: Followers of the movement are being fanaticized by online propaganda.

Where does fanaticize come from?

The first records of the word fanaticize come from the early 1700s. The base word, fanatic, comes from the Latin fānāticus, meaning “pertaining to a temple, inspired by divinity, frantic.” The verb-making suffix -ize means “to make.”

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. When someone is fanaticized, their devotion becomes irrational in this way. The word is especially associated with people who have been made to believe in extreme religious or political views. When someone is fanaticized, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is someone directly doing the fanaticizing—a person may be radicalized simply by reading and watching videos, for example.

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What are some other forms related to fanaticize?

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


What are some words fanaticize may be commonly confused with?

How is fanaticize used in real life?

Fanaticize is almost always used negatively, especially in the context of religion and politics.


Try using fanaticize!

Is fanaticize used correctly in the following sentence?

Cult leaders often try to fanaticize their followers gradually.

British Dictionary definitions for fanaticize



/ (fəˈnætɪˌsaɪz) /


to make or become fanatical
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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