[Vocabulary] Difference between radical and fanatical

Status
Not open for further replies.

omegawea

New member
Joined
Jul 18, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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?
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
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.
 

omegawea

New member
Joined
Jul 18, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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:

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
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'.
 

omegawea

New member
Joined
Jul 18, 2017
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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?
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
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:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top