AskDefine | Define fanaticism

Dictionary Definition

fanaticism n : excessive intolerance of opposing views [syn: zealotry]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The characteristic or practice of being a fanatic.


The characteristic or practice of being a fanatic
  • Croatian: fanatičnost
  • French: fanatisme
  • German: Fanatismus

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.
fanaticism in Bulgarian: Фанатизъм
fanaticism in Danish: Fanatisme
fanaticism in German: Fanatismus
fanaticism in Estonian: Fanatism
fanaticism in Modern Greek (1453-): Φανατισμός
fanaticism in Spanish: Fanatismo
fanaticism in French: Fanatisme
fanaticism in Italian: Fanatismo
fanaticism in Lithuanian: Fanatizmas
fanaticism in Dutch: Fanatisme
fanaticism in Norwegian: Fanatisme
fanaticism in Japanese: 熱狂
fanaticism in Uzbek: Mutaassiblik
fanaticism in Polish: Fanatyzm
fanaticism in Portuguese: Fanatismo
fanaticism in Romanian: Fanatism
fanaticism in Russian: Фанатизм
fanaticism in Slovak: Fanatizmus
fanaticism in Finnish: Fanaattisuus
fanaticism in Swedish: Fanatism
fanaticism in Ukrainian: Фанатизм

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

agitation, authoritarianism, balkiness, bias, bibliolatry, bigotry, blind side, blind spot, blinders, bluster, brawl, broil, brouhaha, bullheadedness, cacophony, chaos, charismatic gift, charismatic movement, charismatic renewal, closed mind, commotion, cramped ideas, dedication, determination, devotedness, devotion, disturbance, doggedness, dogmatism, ebullition, embroilment, enthusiasm, excessiveness, extravagance, extremeness, extremism, fanaticalness, ferment, fervor, fixed mind, flap, fomentation, foofaraw, franticness, frenzy, fume, furor, furore, fury, fuss, gift of tongues, glossolalia, hardheadedness, headstrongness, hideboundness, hubbub, hysteria, illiberality, infatuation, inflexible will, insularism, insularity, intolerance, little-mindedness, littleness, madness, mania, mean mind, meanness, monomania, mulishness, narrow sympathies, narrow views, narrow-mindedness, narrowness, nearsightedness, obduracy, obsessiveness, obstinacy, obstinateness, odium theologicum, opinionatedness, overambitiousness, overanxiety, overanxiousness, overdevoutness, overeagerness, overenthusiasm, overpiousness, overreaction, overreligiousness, overrighteousness, overzealousness, pandemonium, parochialism, partiality, passion, pentecostalism, perfervidness, perseverance, pertinacity, pettiness, petty mind, pigheadedness, prejudice, provincialism, purblindness, rabidness, racket, rage, restiveness, revival, revivalism, row, ruckus, rumpus, sanctimony, self-will, shortsightedness, shut mind, single-mindedness, smallness, stiff neck, stiff-neckedness, storminess, straitlacedness, strongheadness, stubbornness, stuffiness, sulkiness, sullenness, tempestuousness, tenaciousness, tenacity, tumult, tumultuousness, turbulence, turmoil, ultrazealousness, uncatholicity, uncooperativeness, unregenerateness, uproar, upset, wildness, willfulness, zeal, zealotism, zealotry, zealousness
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