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  1. #1
    omegawea is offline Newbie
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    Question Difference between radical and fanatical

    Recently reading history books, i found these two words radical and fanatical to describe people.

    i googled and checked dictionary about them but still not quite sure their differences.

    @dictionary.com
    Radical
    - thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms:

    Fanatical
    - motivated or characterized by an extreme, uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.

    i think both of them cannot be questioned. is it radical people hold their own reason to their faith / believe while fanatical people does not?
    or is there any other criteria to differentiate them?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Difference between radical and fanatical

    A radical person wants great change, but a fanatical person is prepared to go further to get results. There is crossover between the two, but the fanatic is more extreme.

  3. #3
    omegawea is offline Newbie
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    Re: Difference between radical and fanatical

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    A radical person wants great change, but a fanatical person is prepared to go further to get results. There is crossover between the two, but the fanatic is more extreme.
    i understand, in some cases, they can both be used on one person.
    and sounds like, a fanatical person will take action, whereas a radical person might only keep that in his mind.
    please correct me if i get you wrong.
    Last edited by omegawea; 18-Jul-2017 at 16:49.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Difference between radical and fanatical

    I wouldn't make that assumption. Assuming that we are talking about politics, I agree with Tdol that they could both be used for the same person. Have you come across an example where one would work, but the other not?
    They also have some different usages:
    "As a radical feminist, she is fanatical about women's rights." - Good
    "As a fanatical feminist, she is radical about women's rights." - Not a correct use of 'radical'.

  5. #5
    omegawea is offline Newbie
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    Re: Difference between radical and fanatical

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I wouldn't make that assumption. Assuming that we are talking about politics, I agree with Tdol that they could both be used for the same person. Have you come across an example where one would work, but the other not?
    They also have some different usages:
    "As a radical feminist, she is fanatical about women's rights." - Good
    "As a fanatical feminist, she is radical about women's rights." - Not a correct use of 'radical'.
    Sorry that I seem kind of stupid to keep asking...maybe i have difficulty to understand the dictionary words...there is still something in my mind.

    i try to elaborate based on your example:
    "As a radical feminist, she stands firm for women's rights with reasons, and use them to oppose the others."
    "As a fanatical feminist, she stands firm for women's rights with belief, and never listen to the others."

    "As a radical and fanatical feminist, she stands firm for women's rights with reasons and belief, use these reasons to argue with others and never listen to others." - i think that's why your first sentence can be Good.

    Am i right?

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Difference between radical and fanatical

    To be honest, I wouldn't discriminate between those words like that. While Tdol is theoretically right, I don't think you can make those inferences from the descriptor that an author uses. While 'fanatical' might be more extreme than 'radical', they are likely to have similar characteristics except perhaps for degree. And if an author calls someone radical, he's not necessarily saying that they aren't fanatical.
    'Extreme/extremist' is another good word with similarly non-specific attributes.
    Last edited by Raymott; 19-Jul-2017 at 13:20.

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