Definition of fanatic in English:



  • 1A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme religious or political cause.

    ‘religious fanatics’
    • ‘To his considerable dismay, the clearly traumatised girl refuses to disclose the whereabouts of her mother, a former folk singer who was last seen in the company of a religious fanatic named David Minor.’
    • ‘But I cannot stand the posturing of fanatics of any religious or political group.’
    • ‘The dictator is not going to work with a religious fanatic, she said.’
    • ‘Film critics have been divided on the movie's merits, claiming it to be either powerful film-making or a religious fanatic's racist interpretation.’
    • ‘The extreme right wing religious fanatics truly scare me beyond belief.’
    • ‘War has been declared on us by religious fanatics who are prepared to wage that war without limit.’
    • ‘International law has not thought of catering for the violent individual with a grudge against the state, for instance, or the fanatic motivated by religious beliefs.’
    • ‘You say that some don't think of him at all; some see him as the original social worker, or as a great teacher, or a revolutionary, or a religious fanatic with a death-wish.’
    • ‘Edward Johns Urwick was a religious fanatic who approached social service as a philosopher.’
    • ‘Wesley's eyes glint with a religious fanatic's zeal.’
    • ‘Religious fanatics the world over are much the same, full of deadly purity.’
    • ‘Much to the chagrin of my room-mates, come election time I will roam around extolling the necessity of voting with the zeal of a religious fanatic.’
    • ‘Those of us who are non-religious find it difficult to grasp the mindset of religious fanatics.’
    • ‘He moved to Pakistan with his family before being forced out by religious fanatics.’
    • ‘He was quite rigid, almost like a religious fanatic.’
    • ‘This was done by religious fanatics who believe that death is good for them.’
    • ‘They are not fools or mindless religious fanatics: they are philosophers.’
    • ‘Since when have religious fanatics slaughtered the unarmed, or thought they made paradise?’
    • ‘There are many religious fanatics about in the world, and they are all terrifying.’
    • ‘Most people think that Afghans are religious fanatics and this is probably due to the media exposure.’
    zealot, extremist, militant, dogmatist, devotee, sectarian, bigot, chauvinist, partisan, radical, diehard, ultra, activist, apologist, adherent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1informal A person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for a particular activity.
      ‘a fitness fanatic’
      • ‘A fitness fanatic, Harth worked out daily in the local gym.’
      • ‘‘Cinderella Man’ was written by New York lawyer and boxing fanatic Michael DeLise.’
      • ‘The place was steeped in councilors, past and present, from the indefatigable bike fanatic Gordon Price to the bike-commuting Peter Ladner.’
      • ‘It's there she's spotted by a fellow soccer fanatic Jules who is on the lookout for new talent for the local girl's team.’
      • ‘He was then rising high in the Army, a fitness fanatic, and a truly powerful all round athlete.’
      • ‘Once a cult activity among sports fanatics, fantasy games are going mainstream.’
      • ‘HIS age and more than 30 miles riding up a mountain failed to stop cycling fanatic Brian Bulmer's success in a highly prestigious event.’
      • ‘I don't see how any Star Wars fan, whether an obsessive fanatic or simply someone who has always just enjoyed the films as fun entertainment, could not like this film.’
      • ‘Howley, a fitness fanatic with huge upper body strength, looks back with satisfaction on a career that blossomed since he first made his mark in senior rugby for Bridgend at 19.’
      • ‘Former Evening Press scribe and York City fanatic Robert Beaumont has been pushed to the brink by the team's recent results.’
      • ‘A fitness fanatic smashed a world record for endurance running on a treadmill yesterday, by clocking up almost 150 miles in just 48 hours.’
      • ‘Earlier this year, train fanatic Joe Ross, who has learning difficulties, wrote to London Underground to ask whether he could drive one of its Tube trains.’
      • ‘Shipway was known as a fitness fanatic, a term inactive types use to describe anyone who walks to the mailbox, but in Shipway's case the description was apt.’
      • ‘Matthew, who is studying for his A-levels, is a fitness fanatic with a black belt in the martial art ikedo.’
      • ‘Owned by sports fanatic Paul Allen, ‘Sporting News’ caters to the passionate fan.’
      • ‘Sixty years on, keep-fit fanatic Captain Jack Rolfson is living in Rainbow Springs Drive, Chatanooga, Tennessee and jogged five miles per day up until about ten years ago.’
      • ‘And he is also a fitness fanatic whose strict regime has added years to his playing career.’
      • ‘Among the exhibitors were model steam engine fanatic Gordon Woodham from Warminster, walking stick maker George Russell from Sutton Veny, and The Wylye Valley Tree Group.’
      • ‘Andy, whose first column begins today, says you don't need to become a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of better health.’
      • ‘The broadband connection your hardcore MP3 fanatic needs has not reached even moderate market saturation.’
      enthusiast, fan, devotee, lover, addict
      View synonyms


  • Filled with or expressing excessive zeal.

    ‘his eyes had a fanatic iciness’
    • ‘By razing the Babri masjid to the ground first and then doing ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Gujarat, fanatic Hindus have brought the genie of Hindutva out of the bottle.’
    • ‘Luhulima believes that each side's fanatic desire to avenge the other's most recent attack will continue to undermine religious tolerance throughout Indonesia.’
    • ‘Faced with these fanatic acts of terror coming from the midst of society, the idea of multiculturalism has been on the wane in Germany - across the party spectrum.’
    • ‘Fueled by supremacist and puritan theological creeds, their symbolic acts of power become uncompromisingly fanatic and violent.’
    • ‘Terrorism is often the outcome of that fanatic fundamentalism which springs from the conviction that one's own vision of the truth must be forced upon everyone else.’
    • ‘Something which has started in Chechnya during the first war was already pointing in the direction of fanatic fundamentalist, global Islamist resistance.’
    • ‘Europe has a similar interest, having suffered, with the train bombings in Madrid, the kind of fanatic nihilism that visited the Twin Towers.’
    • ‘Fueled by supremacist and puritan theological creeds their symbolic acts of power become uncompromisingly fanatic and violent.’
    • ‘But at all times, a clear distinction must be held between Muslims and fanatic nihilists, for the former desire the furtherment of society, while the latter do not believe in society at all.’
    • ‘Thus he passed first through what he colorfully described as a ‘positively fanatic indulgence in free thinking.’’
    • ‘The Solapur riots had started when fanatic Hindus resisted Muslims protesting against the outpourings of the American evangelist Falwell.’
    • ‘The group that gigged perhaps three times a month at home now found itself onstage five to six nights a week, playing to increasingly fanatic audiences.’
    • ‘In October, the voters in Afghanistan refused to elect a bunch of fanatic theocrats to rule them and the Iraqis have done likewise.’
    all-consuming, consuming, compulsive, dominating, controlling, obsessional, addictive, fanatical, fanatic, neurotic, excessive, besetting, gripping, haunting, tormenting, inescapable
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century (as an adjective): from French fanatique or Latin fanaticus ‘of a temple, inspired by a god’, from fanum ‘temple’. The adjective originally described behaviour that might result from possession by a god or demon, hence the earliest sense of the noun ‘a religious maniac’ (mid 17th century).