The Vocabularist: Are fans fanatical or fanciful?


‘With the Rugby World Cup under way it would be nice to explain why sports supporters are called “fans” – but we don’t know for sure, writes Trevor Timpson.

“Fanatic” derives from the Latin “fanum” meaning “shrine” and Dr Johnson defined it as “struck with a superstitious frenzy”.

“Fancy” is essentially the same word as “fantasy”, from the Greek phantasia, its meanings shading through appearance, opinion, enthusiasm for something – and sometimes delusion.’

Want to know more?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s