Definition of fanatic in US English:



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

    • ‘There are many religious fanatics about in the world, and they are all terrifying.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was quite rigid, almost like a religious fanatic.’
    • ‘But I cannot stand the posturing of fanatics of any religious or political group.’
    • ‘The extreme right wing religious fanatics truly scare me beyond belief.’
    • ‘Edward Johns Urwick was a religious fanatic who approached social service as a philosopher.’
    • ‘The dictator is not going to work with a religious fanatic, she said.’
    • ‘Most people think that Afghans are religious fanatics and this is probably due to the media exposure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wesley's eyes glint with a religious fanatic's zeal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since when have religious fanatics slaughtered the unarmed, or thought they made paradise?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘War has been declared on us by religious fanatics who are prepared to wage that war without limit.’
    • ‘They are not fools or mindless religious fanatics: they are philosophers.’
    • ‘This was done by religious fanatics who believe that death is good for them.’
    • ‘Religious fanatics the world over are much the same, full of deadly purity.’
    • ‘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.’
    zealot, extremist, militant, dogmatist, devotee, sectarian, bigot, chauvinist, partisan, radical, diehard, ultra, activist, apologist, adherent
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    1. 1.1informal often with modifier A person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.
      ‘a fitness fanatic’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And he is also a fitness fanatic whose strict regime has added years to his playing career.’
      • ‘A fitness fanatic, Harth worked out daily in the local gym.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A fitness fanatic smashed a world record for endurance running on a treadmill yesterday, by clocking up almost 150 miles in just 48 hours.’
      • ‘He was then rising high in the Army, a fitness fanatic, and a truly powerful all round athlete.’
      • ‘‘Cinderella Man’ was written by New York lawyer and boxing fanatic Michael DeLise.’
      • ‘Once a cult activity among sports fanatics, fantasy games are going mainstream.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Andy, whose first column begins today, says you don't need to become a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of better health.’
      • ‘Former Evening Press scribe and York City fanatic Robert Beaumont has been pushed to the brink by the team's recent results.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The broadband connection your hardcore MP3 fanatic needs has not reached even moderate market saturation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The place was steeped in councilors, past and present, from the indefatigable bike fanatic Gordon Price to the bike-commuting Peter Ladner.’
      enthusiast, fan, devotee, lover, addict
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  • attributive Filled with or expressing excessive zeal.

    ‘his fanatic energy’
    • ‘Fueled by supremacist and puritan theological creeds, their symbolic acts of power become uncompromisingly fanatic and violent.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Solapur riots had started when fanatic Hindus resisted Muslims protesting against the outpourings of the American evangelist Falwell.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fueled by supremacist and puritan theological creeds their symbolic acts of power become uncompromisingly fanatic and violent.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Something which has started in Chechnya during the first war was already pointing in the direction of fanatic fundamentalist, global Islamist resistance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Europe has a similar interest, having suffered, with the train bombings in Madrid, the kind of fanatic nihilism that visited the Twin Towers.’
    • ‘Luhulima believes that each side's fanatic desire to avenge the other's most recent attack will continue to undermine religious tolerance throughout Indonesia.’
    • ‘Thus he passed first through what he colorfully described as a ‘positively fanatic indulgence in free thinking.’’
    • ‘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
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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 behavior that might result from possession by a god or demon, hence the earliest sense of the noun ‘a religious maniac’ (mid 17th century).