“fanatic” and “bigot”

A bigot is someone who has very strong opinions and prejudices — usually political or religious. He will not change his mind even if you prove him wrong; he is blindly devoted to his beliefs. He is very obstinate and has contempt for those who do not share his beliefs. “Bigot” is a much stronger word than “fanatic” and is always used to show disapproval.

*The religious bigots among the guests ruined the party.

The first syllable is like the word “big” and the “o” that follows is like the “a” in “china”. The main stress is on the first syllable.

The first “a” in “fanatic” is like the “a” in “china”, while the following one is like the “a” in “cat”, “bat”, and “act”. The main stress is on the second syllable and not the first.

When you describe someone as being a political or religious fanatic you are showing your disapproval of him; you think his opinions and behaviour are rather extreme.

*Some of his closest friends include some well-known religious fanatics.

Unlike the word “bigot” which is limited in its use, the word fanatic can be used with other activities as well. If you say that someone is a fanatic about jogging, what you are implying is that in your opinion, the individual is obsessively enthusiastic about jogging. When used in this manner, the word carries with it a hint of irrationality or madness. It is from the word “fanatic” that we get the word “fan” — meaning enthusiast.

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, September 06, 2004

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