AskDefine | Define fanatical

Dictionary Definition

fanatical adj : marked by excessive enthusiasm for and intense devotion to a cause or idea; "rabid isolationist" [syn: fanatic, overzealous, rabid]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /fəˈnætɪkəl/, /f@"n

Extensive Definition

Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby.
According to philosopher George Santayana, "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim"; according to Winston Churchill, "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". By either description the fanatic displays very strict standards and little tolerance.
The difference between a fan and a fanatic is that while both have an overwhelming liking or interest in a given subject, behaviour of a fanatic will be viewed as violating prevailing social norms, while that of a fan will not violate those norms (although is usually considered unusual).
A fanatic differs from a crank in that the latter term is typically associated with a position or opinion which is so far from the norm as to appear ludicrous and/or provably wrong, while the subject of the fanatic's obsession may well be "normal", with only the scale of involvement being abnormally disproportionate.

Categories of fanaticism

  • consumer fanaticism - the level of involvement or interest one has in the liking of a particular person, group, trend, artwork or idea.
  • religious fanaticism - considered by some to be the most extreme form of religious fundamentalism.
  • political, ideological fanaticism.
  • ethnic, national, racial fanaticism.
  • leisure fanaticism - high levels of intensity, enthusiasm, commitment and zeal shown for one's leisure activities.
  • Haynal, A., Molnar, M. and de Puymege, G. 1987."Fanaticism. A Historical and Psychoanalytical Study".Schoken Books. New York.
  • Rudin, J. 1969.Fanaticism. A psychological Analysis. University of Notre Dame Press. London.
fanatical in Bulgarian: Фанатизъм
fanatical in Danish: Fanatisme
fanatical in German: Fanatismus
fanatical in Estonian: Fanatism
fanatical in Modern Greek (1453-): Φανατισμός
fanatical in Spanish: Fanatismo
fanatical in French: Fanatisme
fanatical in Italian: Fanatismo
fanatical in Lithuanian: Fanatizmas
fanatical in Dutch: Fanatisme
fanatical in Norwegian: Fanatisme
fanatical in Japanese: 熱狂
fanatical in Uzbek: Mutaassiblik
fanatical in Polish: Fanatyzm
fanatical in Portuguese: Fanatismo
fanatical in Romanian: Fanatism
fanatical in Russian: Фанатизм
fanatical in Slovak: Fanatizmus
fanatical in Finnish: Fanaattisuus
fanatical in Swedish: Fanatism
fanatical in Ukrainian: Фанатизм

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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