It is gone 2.30 am, so this is a preliminary thought. The idea needs to be discussed.

A definition of ‘fanatic’ from the ‘Cambridge Dictionaries Online’ is:

“Informal: a person who is extremely interested in something, to a degree that some people find unreasonable:
EG. A fitness/film fanatic.
Disapproving: a person who has very extreme beliefs that may lead them to behave in unreasonable or violent ways:
EG. Religious fanatics.”

I suppose that it in inevitable in today’s emotional world that even a Cambridge dictionary cannot avoid indistinctness. For example, ‘informal’ suggests that there is a ‘formal’, and yet the dictionary does not describe a ‘formal’ meaning of the word. Instead, it produces an ’emotion’ – ‘disapproving’.

So what does the word ‘fanatic’ mean?

Perhaps it is as well that the word was shortened to ‘fan’ to describe a person who follows a particular football club. Thus shortened, the word has no connotation of madness. A Man U ‘fan’ might never go to see a match, but might avidly follow Man U’s results, position in the league, signings, etc. A different ‘fan’ might have a season ticket for home matches and travel to away matches. Another ‘fan’ might respond to a question about which football club he supports by saying, “Erm… I am a Man U ‘fan'”.

But what exactly is a ‘FANATIC’?

Do I detect the word ‘fantasy’ in there somewhere?

Here is a little more:

 “Origin of FANATIC.

Latin fanaticus inspired by a deity, frenzied, from fanum temple — more at feast
First Known Use: 1550″

The above sentence is badly punctuated, but makes more sense as expanded:

“In Latin the adjective fanaticus, a derivative of fanum, “temple,” meant literally “of a temple,” though the more common sense was “inspired by a god” or “frenzied”. The word was borrowed into English as fanatic in the 1500s with this sense. In the following century the word was applied to members of certain Protestant groups who argued for their beliefs—in the view of most people—with excessive enthusiasm, acting as if they were divinely inspired. Eventually, fanatic was applied to anyone who showed extreme devotion to a cause”.

Fanatic, fantasy, fantastic…. All those word apply to tobacco control.

I must think about it.


One Response to “Fanatics”

  1. Some French bloke Says:

    According to John Ayto’s Dictionary of Word Origins, “Fancy and fantasy have no etymological connection with the superficially similar fanatic, which comes ultimately from Latin fanum ‘temple'”; they instead “go back originally to the Greek verb phaínein ‘show’ (source also of English diaphanous and phenomenon)”.

    When a temple of science or religion is crawling with impostors, when a doctrine has been betrayed, or a science has been hijacked, it becomes alright to define oneself as a profane, another derivative of fanum, etymologically denoting “standing before, i.e. outside of the temple”.
    As inveterate smoker Winston Churchill would probably be saying about TobCon, if alive these days: “never in the field of disinformation has so much wool been pulled before so many eyes by so few for so long…”

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