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fa·​nat·​ic fə-ˈna-tik How to pronounce fanatic (audio)
plural fanatics
disapproving : a person exhibiting excessive enthusiasm and intense uncritical devotion toward some controversial matter (as in religion or politics)
a religious fanatic [=extremist]
The fanatics are convinced they are serving a righteous cause and that all means are justified …Flora Lewis
: a person who is extremely enthusiastic about and devoted to some interest or activity
a boating/sports/racing fanatic
She's a real fanatic when it comes to working out.
Since the U.S. economy began to sputter in 2008, shoppers have become coupon fanatics and lovers of buy-one-get-one-free deals …Janet K. Keeler


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variants or fanatical
: marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion
they're fanatic about politics
a fanatic attention to details
fanatically adverb
fanaticalness noun

Did you know?

The Fanatical Origin of Fan

There are a good number of etymological myths in the English language, stories about the origins of words (such as the widespread notion that posh originated as an acronym for “port out, starboard home”) which are, to put it kindly, inaccurate. But this does not mean that every vivid account of linguistic origin is fictitious. Many words, such as fan, do have colorful backstories.

Fan is generally–and very likely correctly–believed to be a shortened form of fanatic. The origin of fanatic (which can be traced back to the Latin word fanum, meaning “sanctuary, temple”) is less often commented on. In English, fan made an early appearance in the late 17th century only to disappear for two centuries, resurfacing in the late 19th century. In this later period of use, it often referred to the devoted observers of, or participants in, a sport. An 1885 article from The Kansas City Times, for example, contains the line “The base ball ‘fans’ of the ploice [sic] force and fire department engage in a ball game.”

Did you know?

The Latin adjective fanaticus, a derivative of the noun fanum, meaning “temple,” originally meant “of or relating to a temple.” It was later used to refer to pious individuals who were thought to have been inspired by a god or goddess. In time, the sense “frantic, frenzied, mad” arose because it was thought that persons behaving in such a manner were possessed by a deity. This was the first meaning of the English word fanatic. This sense is now obsolete, but it led to the meaning “excessively enthusiastic, especially about religious matters.” The word later became less specific, meaning simply “excessively enthusiastic or unreasonable.” The noun fan, meaning “enthusiast,” is probably a shortening of fanatic.

Examples of fanatic in a Sentence

Noun football fanatics are pretty much booked up for weekends from Labor Day to Super Bowl Sunday once he joined the movement, he became a fanatic Adjective because of her fanatical views, her friends know better than to try to discuss the issues with her
Recent Examples on the Web
Listen to this article Yasu Kizaki knows most sushi fanatics are looking for the freshest cuts of fish. Lily O'Neill, The Denver Post, 29 May 2024 The same Congressional Republicans who are abandoning Ukraine are also making Biden’s betrayal of Israel easier by refusing to approve the military assistance Israel needs to continue its offensive in Gaza, and to defend its people against Hamas and the other murderous fanatics who surround it. Chris Roemer, Baltimore Sun, 23 Mar. 2024
Queens of Drama is told in flashbacks, with a fanatic YouTuber serving as the audience’s guide. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 In reality, such behavior would almost surely get the fanatic (and many of his comrades) killed. Peter Debruge, Variety, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for fanatic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fanatic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Latin fanaticus inspired by a deity, frenzied, from fanum temple — more at feast

First Known Use


1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1550, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fanatic was in 1550

Dictionary Entries Near fanatic

Cite this Entry

“Fanatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


fa·​nat·​ic fə-ˈnat-ik How to pronounce fanatic (audio)
variants or fanatical
: overly enthusiastic or devoted
fanatic noun
fanatically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on fanatic

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